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(Author of "Our Clearing System and Clearing Bouses" "Banking Statistics,** 

" The Three Croivns," *^ Somme OLde Curiosities" '^Barclay d: Company, 

Limited" ** History of Greenwich and Blackheath, dec, dc, dsc) 







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In this book will be found a history of the various 
banks which enjoy the privilege of having a seat in 
the London Bankers' Clearing House — the most im- 
portant financial institution in the world. The pro- 
gress of each has been faithfully recorded, whether 
favourable or otherwise, and the statements and criti- 
cisms may be regarded as absolutely fair, coming as 
they do from the pen of a financial writer of many 
years standing. 

The history of the Bank of England is not given 
in this book for two reasons. First, this bank is, so 
to speak, but half a member, as it only *' clears" on 
one side ; secondly, it would be an absolute impossi- 
bility to condense into a few pages the marvellous 
tale of existence of the *' Old Lady of Threadneedle 
Street " — her vagaries have been so extensive that an 
account of them must be deferred to a separate 


It has been my endeavour to give a fair and 
absolutely unbiassed review of the various banks in 
the ** House," and if my work meets with the 
approval of bank and financial ofl&cials, I shall be 
more than satisfied. 

As some of the banks have their shareholders' 
meetings annually only, it has occurred to me, as 
being most fair to take, as frequently as possible, for 
the purposes of comparison, the balance-sheets for the 
year ended 81st December last. 

The word of ** amalgamation " has gone forth. 
The present lull is only temporary; jealous eyes are 
being cast on the few remaining private banks in 
the provinces — most, if not all of which, must sooner 
or later succumb to the wiles of the enterprising 
joint stock banks, and a number of the existing joint 
stock banks are regarded as likely acquisitions. But, 
and this is important, there can be no possible doubt 
that it will be as difficult half-a- century hence as to- 
day, for any strange bank to procure a seat in the 
"Holy of Holies"— the Temple in Post Office Court, 
Lombard Street. 

During more than a century this centre, this pulse 
of the financial world, has followed its own course 


quietly, unostentatiously, has maintained its authority 
with dignity, and has taught a lesson to all similar 
imitators, in the provinces, on the Continent, and in 
America. The future of the Clearing system is "pro- 
gress and extension," and it may yet be that in a 
few years time the clientele of the " House " may be 
so altered that another book on this subject may have 
to be written by 

New Cross, London, S.E. 
May, 1905. 



The London Bankers' Cleabing House 




The London Bankers' Oleartng House, 




Barclay & Company 



Capital & Counties 




Glyn, Mills & Company... 








London & County 



London & South- Western 



London & Westminster ... 




London, City & Midland 




London Joint- Stock 








Metropolitan (of England 

AND WaTiEs) 







National Provincial 








KoBARTS, Lubbock & Co. 




Union of London & Smith' 

8 Bank 



Willlvms, Deacon's Bank 







The London Bankers* Clearing House. 

The London Bankers' Clearing House has been aptly 
called the pulse of the financial world. There are 
probably few, if any, institutions, where such an enor- 
mous business is transacted year by year. The total 
paid clearing for 1904, for instance, reached the enor- 
mous aggregate of more than £11,000,000,000. But 
like all very old institutions there is a veil of mystery 
hanging over its origin. No one seems to know 
exactly when the clearing system was started, or 
whether in this country or any other. If in another 
country, then it must have been lost sight of for 


many years, and "re-invented" in England. There 
seems no doubt that it was established before 1778.* 
An old guide-book to London states, " The practice of 
clearing is said to be above a century old, the banks 
employing clerks called "clearers," who used to settle 
their accounts on the top of a post, or on one another's 
backs, in Lombard Street, and very often resorted to 
one banking-house, which had a large recess in the 
window, which they found very convenient, but the 
house in question found just the opposite, and the 
noise made such a hindrance to business that, it is 
said, they were often summarily turned out. This led 
to a house being taken in 1810, and the organization 
of a system admirable in its simple arrangements." 
To this we may add we have heard that the early 
clearing transactions were often carried on in a friendly 
public-house. It appears very probable that ** The 
Grasshopper" was the rendezvous referred to in the 
above extract, but an entry in the books of Messrs. 
Martin & Co. in 1773, " Quarterly charge for the use 
of clearing-room, 19s. 6d.," gives an earlier date to 

* Lawson, in his "History of Banking" (p. 316), dates the 
establishment of the Ciearing-House at 1753. 


its establishment.* From an article on the Clearing 
House we take the following extract : "In 1775 
a building in Lombard Street was set apart for the 
use of bankers, in which they might exchange drafts, 
bills, securities, and thereby save labour, and curtail the 
amount of floating cash requisite to meet the settle- 
ment of the different houses if effected singly."! 

Mr. Barnett thinks that **in the early days of clear- 
ing the clerks used to meet in a room in the banking- 
house of Messrs. Smith, Payne, & Smiths, but, in 
1841, removed to their present Clearing House." 
Some years ago Messrs. Smith stated that they had 
no record which enabled them to speak with any 
degree of certainty as to the accuracy of that asser- 
tion, but they learned from a gentleman in their 
employ that so early as 1827 **the Clearing House 
or office adjoined the bank, of which it formed "part." 

With regard to the establishment of the clearing 
system we cull the following : Possibly the principles 
of the Clearing House were first understood and acted 
upon by bank clerks and messengers rather than by 
the bankers and bank managers themselves. Those 

* ''The Grasshopper," by Mr. J. B. Martin, 
t Haydn. 

employes, even then so it seems, averse to unnecessary 
work, and ready to resort to any expedient which 
would in the slightest degree lessen their labours, 
came to the conclusion that much time would be 
saved if they were to meet to exchange the bundles of 
cheques, &c., which they were sent to collect instead 
of presenting them for payment at the counters of 
the various bankers. For this purpose the top of a 
post, or the corner of a street, was oft-times selected. 
In a neighbouring court was a convenient tavern, so 
this was chosen as a rendezvous, as an improvement 
on the transactions in the open streets. We have 
heard that the whole arrangement was come to in 
a public-house to which the messengers and others 
made a practice of resorting. What more natural than 
that two or three bank officials should there meet 
and discuss their views on banking in general and 
for their own establishments in particular ! Perhaps in 
the course of discussion one man, say, from "Kobarts," 
compared his •' charge" with that of the clerk of 
another bank, say, ** Glyn's," and suddenly, as by 
inspiration, this suggestion was made, and acted 
upon : The clerk from Robarts' listed all the cheques 
and drafts he had on Glyn's, and Glyn's clerk made 

a similar catalogue of all the drafts, &c., he held on 
Robarts ; they next exchanged parcels, and returned 
each to his own bankf agreeing to meet again later 
on. In the interim the cheques taken to each bank 
were examined. The messengers or clerks returning to 
the appointed place as agreed, some such conversa- 
tion as this probably took place between them : Glyn's 
man, "Robarts, we have a charge of £9,056 17s. 8d. 
on you and you have a charge of £10,187 8s. 9d. on 
us ; as all our respective cheques are good we have 
to pay you (£10,187 3s. 9d. less £9,056 17s. 8d.) 
£1,130 6s. Id." The balance of the transaction was 
then paid in notes and gold by Glyn's man to the 
representative of Robarts' bank. 

This is very probably how the system of " clearing '! 
originated, commending itself by its very simplicity. 
For, referring to the hypothetical example just given, 
had it not been for so easy an arrangement each 
bank must, of necessity, have paid the other in full — 
that is in notes and gold. In other words, £19,244 Is. 6d. 
would have changed hands instead of the comparatively 
small amount of £1,180 6s. Id. The plan adopted 
by the clerks, although known and winked at by the 
officials, at last demanded attention because of the 


dangers attendant upon it. The principle was, how- 
ever, recognized, with the result that, in 1810, 
a house was taken for the sole purpose of *' clearing." 

We find that Mr. John White was an inspector of 
the Clearing House in 1818, but we cannot trace 
who held that responsible position before him. His 
salary, as president or inspector, appears to have been 
dBlOO per annum. He was succeeded by a Mr. Henna, 
who was followed by Mr. John Pocock ; he, in his 
turn, was succeeded by Mr. George Derbyshire, who 
for many years had as his assistant Mr. Pocock. 
On the retirement of Mr. Derbyshire, Mr. Pocock 
was elected chief inspector, with Mr. P. Matthews 
(of Barclay & Co., Ltd.) as assistant. On Mr. Pocock's 
retirement Mr, Matthews was elected chief inspector, 
which exalted position he still holds. His sound 
financial knowledge and business abilities have long 
since proved to the whole of the banking world the 
wisdom of the committee in their selectien of a fitting 
successor to Mr. Pocock. 

The year 1854 is remarkable in the annals of the 
"House" for two great innovations — (1) the admis- 
sion of joint-stock bankers over the sacred threshold 
of the Temple of Mammon, and (2) the balances for 

the first time being settled by transfer, or drafts, on 
the Bank of England. Widely different impressions 
obtained as to the extent of the economy effected 
in the bank-note circulation by this arrangement. 
Mr. Barnett says, " An examination of the return of 
the daily transactions of the Clearing House for 1889 
will show that the largest amount of bank-notes used 
in one day for the payment of balances was £593,300, 
the smallest dB 108, 000, and the average for the year 
£213,100. Mr. George Derbyshire has been good 
enough, with the sanction of cur president, to give the 
aggregate balances for 1879-80, and I find that they 
range from £1,140,000 to £5,534,000, giving a daily 
average of £2,068,000. Thus whilst the totals of the clear- 
ing increased in the period 1889-79 from £954,000,000 
to £5,266,000,000 or by some 450 per cent., the average 
balances increased by 900 per cent."* 

To Mr. Derbyshire is due the honour of being the 
gentleman by whose instrumentability the grandest of 
all the various alterations in the transaction of clear- 
ing business is due — the payment of balances by trans- 
fer. The plan was originally proposed by Mr. Babbage, 

* ♦' Effect of the Development of Banking Facilities upon the 
Circulation of the Country" (pp. 80 and 81).- 


but was opposed by the majority of bankers. 
Mr. Derbyshire urged the matter most strongly, and 
it was decided at a meeting held at the Bank of 
England that the plan of settlement by transfer should 
be adopted. 

The earliest authentic record we can find of the 
amount of paid clearing is in the report of the Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons on Banks of Issue 
dated 1840, which shows that in the previous year 
the total amount of clearing paid through the House 
was £964,401,600. Compare that with the total of 
more than £11,000,000,000 of to-day, and one can 
grasp in a moment the fact that not only the Clear- 
ing House, but the world generally, must have made 
enormous strides. As we have already said, the Clear- 
ing House is the great pulse of the financial world, 
and by its returns one can easily gauge the state of 
trade — its progress or decadence. 

The country clearing system is a modification of the 
town clearing, and has been established some forty- 
five years. The whole credit of this magnificent addition 
to the work already referred to, so far as London 
cheques and drafts are concerned, is due to the 
Lord Avebury, one of the greatest living authorities 


on banking matters. At first it seemed as though the 
proposal could not work, but as soon as a trial was 
given it turned out an enormous success, and has 
largely contributed to the welfare and comfort of 
citizens in the provinces. The number of cheques 
passed through the country clearing is tremendous by 
reason of the average value of each being so much 
smaller than that of the drafts passing through the^ 
town department. We do not think for a single 
second that Sir John Lubbock adequately conceived 
the magnitude and far reaching effects of his proposal. 
It was for the present chief inspector, Mr. Philip 
Matthews to differentiate between the ''town" and 
"country" paid clearing, and it is under his regime 
that we are able in the weekly returns to learn how 
much of the enormous aggregate is due to London, 
and how much to country business. One thing is 
quite certain, that when the return under the new 
plan was first made the bankers, not only in London, 
but all over the country, were astonished to learn 
the dimensions to which the clearing business — other 
than London — had grown. Were greater facilities to 
be offered in hours and accommodation it is more 
than probable that one would see the country clear- 
ing returns increase by leaps and bounds. 


It is impossible for us in this work to give 
detailed statemeDts as to how the system works or 
an analysed precis of the returns. Suflfice it to say 
that as our plan has been adopted not only in the 
provinces and the colonies, but also in foreign countries 
and America, that surely is a sufficiently strong impri- 
mature as to its utility and efficacy. With the exten- 
sion of the building in recent years work has been 
greatly faciUtated in Post Office Court, Lombard Street, 
but there still remains plenty of room for extension 
if only circumstances served. But situated as it is in 
the very heart of the City, and hemmed in as it is 
by buildings occupied by important insurance and 
other companies, it almost seems as though the com- 
mittee have reached the end of their tether so far 
as further extension is concerned. 

It is a great pity, since with a larger and more 
commodious building it is probable that the Scotch 
and Irish banks might be admitted as well as two or 
more important institutions in the metropolis now 
clearing through other companies. 



The London Clearing House, 1854-1904. 
The Changes op Fifty Years. 

It is always interesting to glance back at the history 
of old institutions, and still more fascinating when they 
happen to have a history all their own. In the 
previous chapter we have given a summarised account 
of the Clearing House, although we could not record 
a list of its earliest members. Here we take a retro- 
spect of half a century, and all those in any way con- 
nected with the banking world will at once recognise 
the strange alterations which have taken place during 
that period in its denizens. The old generation has 
passed, or nearly passed, away, and another has sprung 
up which remember not, or ignores, their predecessors 
in the centuries which have gone. As we have 
already stated, there is only one absolutely private 
bank in the House to-day, although it was many 
years after the establishment of joint-stock institutions 
that any admission was allowed to them to the sacred 


precincts of the Clearing House. But it is not only 
the private houses which have disappeared off the 
scene — amalgamation between joint-stock banks have 
constantly taken place. It will be seen by the follow- 
ing list that in 1854 the only joint-stock banks then 
in the House were the Commercial Bank, the London 
Joint-Stock, the London & Westminster (with their 
Southwark branch), the Eoyal British Bank, and the 
Union Bank of London, and it will be noticed what 
fate has befallen these and the rest. 


Barclay & Co. 
Barnett & Co. 

Bosanquet & Co. 
Brown, Janson, & Co. 
Commercial Bank 
London & County Bank 
Currie & Co 

Dimsdale & Co. 

Fuller & Co 

Olyn & Co 

...Amalgamated with Lloyds 

...Stopped payment in 1866 

...Amalgamated with Glyn 
& Co., 1864 

...Amalgamated with Pres- 
cott & Co., 1890 

...Amalgamated with Parr's, 

...Amalgamated with Cur- 
rie & Co., 1864 


Hanbury & Co. 

Hankey & Co. 

Hey wood & Co. 

London Joint- Stock Bank 
Jones, Loyd, & Co. ... 

...Amalgamated with Bar- 
nett & Co., 1864 

Became Consolidated Bank 

Amalgamated with Parr's, 

...Amalgamated with Lon- 
don & Westminster, 

London & Westminster Bank 

„ (Southwark) 

Lubbock & Co. 

Martin & Co. 
Masterman & Co. 

Prescott & Co. 

Price & Co. ... 
Robarts & Co. 

Royal British Bank 
Rogers & Co. ... 

v.\» « A 

or TMC 


..Amalgamated with Ro- 
barts & Co., 1860 

..Became Agra & Master- 
man's Bank, 1864. 
Stopped payment, 

...Amalgamated with Dims- 
dale, 1890. 

...Stopped payment, 1866. 

...Amalgamated with Lub- 
bock & Co., 1860. 

...Stopped payment, 1866. 

...Became English Joint- 
Stock Bank, 1866. 
Stopped payment, 


Sapte <fe Co 

Smith & Go. 
Spooner & Co. 

Stevenson & Co 

Union Bank of London 
Williams & Co 

Willis, Percival, & Co. 

Since 1854 many changes 
following banks have been 
seen at a glance that the 
tinned. The banks admitted 
City Bank, 1856 

Amalgamated with Ful- 
ler & Co., 1869 

.Amalgamated with Bar- 
clay & Co., 1866 

.Amalgamated with Bosan- 
quet & Co., 1867 

Bank of London, 1866 
National Bank, 1859 
Alliance Bank, 1868... 

Imperial Bank, 1868... 

.Amalgamated with Man- 
chest & Salford Bank, 

.Stopped payment, 1878 

have taken place. The 
omitted, but it will be 
system of changes con- 
since 1864 have been : — 

.Amalgamated with Lon- 
don and Midland, 
1898, and title of 
combined institutions 
altered to London 
City & Midland Bank 

.Stopped payment, 1866 

.Amalgamated with Parr's, 


, Amalgamated with Lon- 
don Joint-Stock Bank, 


Metropolitan Bank, 1868 ...Amalgamated with Birm- 
ingham Banking Com- 
pany, 1889 

Bank of England, 1864 ...One side only 

National Provincial Bank, 1865 

London & South - Western 
Bank, 1878 

Central Bank, 1878 Amalgamated with Birm- 
ingham and Midland 
Bank, 1891, when 
titled was changed to 
London & Midland 
Bank. Further amal- 
gamation with the 
City Bank, 1898, when 
name again altered to 
London, City & Mid- 
land Bank, Ltd. 

Capital & Counties' Bank, 1882 

Lloyds' Bank, 1894 On their amalgamation 

with Barnett & Bosan- 

Parr's Bank, 1891 On their amalgamation 

with Fuller & Co. 


Bank of England (one side only). 

Barclay & Co., Ltd. 

Capital & Counties. 

Glyn & Co. 



London & County. 

London & South- Western. 

London & Westminster. 

London, City, & Midland. 

London Joint- Stock. 




National Provincial. 

Parr's & the Alliance. 

Bobarts, Lubbock, & Co. 

Union & Smith's. 

Williams, Deacons. 



Barclay & Company, Limited. 

This company, when it appeared as a limited instead 
of a private company, almost took away the breath 
of the banking world. The announcement was entirely 
mi- anticipated ; the old private banking-house of 
Barclay & Co. was looked upon as one of the few 
which would weather the tide of competition and pro- 
ceed on its own lines, strong and firm, as it had 
done for more than a century. If Barclay's amalga- 
mated at all why should it not be with some of their 
contemporaries in the west of London, and some of 
their many connections in the country? That was 
the question asked by the customers, and the man 
in the street. The business was sound, old estab- 
lished ; the credit was all that could be desired ; the 
firm was one of those in which no one expected to 
see any alteration ; the demands of modern times as 
regards periodical balance-sheets had been complied 
with ; the pubUc were more than satisfied with the 


stability of the institution, and yet the directors thought 
fit to arrange a combination of interests which staggered 
the financial world. The wisdom of the policy of the 
Bank was seriously questioned, but the result proved 
that it was more than justified. 

Barclay's, like Robarts, was one of the old private 
banking institutions in London which had survived the 
tide of amalgamation and absorption ; the bank had 
held sternly aloof from all inducements and allure- 
ments. There were scores of joint-stock banks which 
would have been only too glad to come to terms, 
but none of the offers were accepted. Barclay's 
wished to take its own initiative, and did so. Joint- 
stock banks, as partners, were not desired — they were 
not needed. Seeing the importance of falling in line, 
Barclay's chalked out the plan on which they intended 
to work, and by a skilful piece of diplomacy obtained 
the ready consent of the many provincial houses to 
throw in their lot with them so that a limited 
company might be established on a sound basis, the 
interest of each branch connected with the partner- 
ship might be properly considered, and that the com- 
bined institution might face the London world as 
a joint-stock company which was prepared to measure 
Bwords with those at that time holding the supremacy. 


From a private bank, of great repute, Barclay's, by 
this one stroke of diplomacy, placed themselves in the 
foremost ranks of the clearing banks of the day — 
a position which they have more than maintained 
since. The firm of Barclay & Co., not to give their 
title in full, was so well known that their pronounce- 
ment in 1896 was received with the greatest respect, 
albeit excitement ; and everyone was assured that no 
such momentous step would have been taken except 
the management was absolutely clear that it would 
be for the present and future good of the institu- 
tion. The circular ran : — 

"54, Lombard Street, 

" London, E.G. 

''June, 1896. 
** We have the pleasure to inform you of 
the completion of arrangements for the amalga- 
mation of the businesses of the private banks, 
who names are appended, as a company with 
the name of Barclay & Company, Limited. 

"The registered capital will be £6,000,000, 
of which £5,000,000 will be issued and sub- 
scribed ; £2,000,000 will be paid up, and 
a further sum of £1,000,000 provided as a 

reserve fund. The whole of the £5,000,000, 
and also the reserve fund, will be subscribed 
by the amalgamating firms. 

**The directors, whose names are annexed, 
have been selected from among the existing 
partners, and the local management will remain 
in the same hands as heretotore, the private 
character of the banks being thus preserved. 

*' We are confident that this combination of 
private banks, which has been long in con- 
templation, will have the approval of our friends 

and of all concerned. 

"Barclay & Co." 

Names of Banks Amalgamating. 

Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Eansom, Bouverie & Co., 
London and Brighton. 

Goslings & Sharpe, London. 

Gurney & Co., Norfolk, Fakenham, Halesworth, King's 
Lynn, Wisbech, Great Yarmouth. 

Gurney s, Alexanders & Co., Ipswich. 

Gurneys, Eound, Green & Co., Colchester. 

J. Backhouse & Co., Darlington. 

Bassett, Son & Harris, Bedfordshire (Leighton Buz- 
zard Bank). 

Fordham, Gibson & Co., Koyston. 


Gibson, Tuke & Gibson (Saffron Walden and North 
Essex Bank). 

Molineux, Whitfeld & Co. (Old Bank), Lewes. 

J. Mortlock & Co., Limited, Cambridge. 

Sharpies, Tuke, Lucas & Seebohm, Hitchin. 

Sparrow, Tufnell & Co. (Essex Bank), Chelmsford and 

Veasey, Desborough, Bevan, Tillard & Co. (Hunting- 
ton Town and County Bank). 

Woodall, Hebden & Co., Scarborough Old Bank. 

The following interesting history of the premises 
now occupied by the Bank is taken from Mr. J. Hilton 
Price's valuable work, " The Signs of Old Lombard 

"No. 58. 'The Black Horse.' This was the original 
site of this sign. It was here that Pepys' friend, 
little Stokes, the goldsmith, lived, who in 1677 
appeared in the 'Little London Directory' as *kepe- 
ing running cashes' under the name of Humph. Stocks; 
but Stokes was probably correct, as in The London 
Gazette of June, 1700, the name of Robert Stokes, 
of * The Black Horse ' is to be seen. John Bland, 
goldsmith, was here in 1728, having obtained a lease 
from the Vintner's Company. In 1749 a fresh lease 
was granted to a Devereux Bowly, and then, or 

perhaps a little earlier, it may be presumed John 
Bland moved to the premises now No. 62, at the 
corner of Birchin Lane, and took his sign with him. 

"No. 54. By a deed in the possession of the 
Vintner's Company, we learn that, in 1728, this 
house was called *The Bible,' and was in occupation 
of George Braithwaite, a goldsmith. 

"No. 55. This house was in all probability called 
* The Three Kings,' and was occupied, according to 
a list of bankers published in 1768 in The Daily 
Jounialy by Messrs. Pewtress & Robarts, and by 
Messrs. Smith, Wright & Gray. In another list we 
find Messrs. Pewtress & Robarts as being opposite 
*The Three Kings,' which would be about No. 82, but, 
unfortunately, nothing is known of this firm after 
1769, otherwise we should have been able to clear 
up the difiBculty by the number. In 1770 we find 
the house was numbered 55, and Messrs. Smith, 
Wright & Gray were the occupiers, where they 
remained a few years before moving to No. 21. 

" No. 66, on the east side of George Yard, was 
*The Black Spread Eagle.' We learn from Tht 
London Gazette that in 1676 one James Taylor, 
a goldsmith, was at this sign, and that he advertised 

for a runaway lad, aged about fourteen years, who 
was somewhat freckled in the face, and had brown 
hair and wore a grey coat which had pewter buttons. 
That is all that is known of him. The next occupant 
of ' The Spread Eagle ' was Jeremiah Marlow, a gold- 
smith, who advertised his wares in The London 
Gazette from 1694 to 1702. Messrs. Freame & Gould 
were here in 1728. Mr. Freame started in business 
in 1694 at ' The Three Anchors ' in this street, where 
he certainly remained till 1702. In 1786 Mr. James 
Barclay, who was the son of David Barclay, of 
Cheapside, joined him in partnership. Towards the 
end of the last century it is recorded that the staff 
of Barclay's consisted of three clerks, and we are 
told that upon the third clerk coming to the shop for 
the first time, he was thus dressed: He wore a long 
flapped coat with large pockets; the sleeves had long 
cuffs with three large buttons, something like the 
coats worn by the Greenwich pensioners of the present 
day ; an embroidered waistcoat reaching nearly down 
to his knees, with an enormous bouquet in the but- 
ton-hole, a cocked hat, powdered wig with pigtail and 
bagwig, and gold-headed cane similar to those of 
the present day carried by footmen of ladies of rank. 


This appears a peculiar costume nowadays, but it is 
quite possible that bankers had a particular dress or 
uniform that they compelled their clerks to wear. 
Messrs. Barclay, Tritton & Co. remained here till 
1818, when their number became 64. This bank now 
occupies the whole block between George Alley and 
George Yard, consisting of 61, 62, 58, 64, 65, and 5Q. 
** No. 67. The sign of the house formerly on this 
site was probably ' The Kam,' although in the deeds 
of the property no special sign is named ; but from 
the perusal of them we learn that, previous to the 
Great Fire in 1666, * The George Inn,' stood here, 
and afterwards two houses were erected on each side 
of George Yard, the two on the west side of the 
yard, described respectively as Snow's House, which 
we know was No. 58, and Ward's House, which was 
No. 67. Upon reference to the * Little London Direc- 
tory,' of 1677, we find that Eobert Ward and John 
Towneley were at * The Eam,' keeping running cashes ; 
we do not know how long this firm existed, but 
about 1750 we find, by a deed, that Mr. Fraser 
Honeywood, banker, was here, whose business was 
started about 1737, probably in the same house, by 
Atkins, Honeywood & Fuller, and when they moved 


into Birchin Lane in 1754, Mr. Henton Brown, 
banker, came here ; in 1781 the firm had become 
Collinson & Tritton. They occupied during — ihis 
period the two houses, 57 and 68, which had been 
made into one. Mr. Tritton joined the firm of 
Messrs. Barclay & Bevan, and in 1787 Henry Gold- 
finch occupied the house." 

Oddly enough, no accurate account has yet been 
given to the public of the nativity, nearly two centuries 
ago, of this great bank. The tradition concerning 
Mr. Barclay, the draper of Cheapside, and King 
George, is but a fairy tale which contains only a few 
grains of truth. When the grain is sifted from the 
chaff, the story bears quite a different complexion. 
Truth, however, is stranger than fiction, and my 
readers will find it in this case quite as entertaining. 

The date of its establishment is very uncertain, but 
must have been prior to 1729, as the books of the 
firm go back to that date. By the courtesy of one 
of the directors we have had access to the oldest 
ledger held by the bank, and the first entry is under 
the date mentioned. The ledger, however, is marked 
** S," and as in those days the books were distin- 
guished by letters instead of numbers, it is clear that 


many previous ledgers had been in use, so that, in 
all probability, another forty or fifty years may be 
added to the age of the bank. While speaking of 
this ledger it will be of interest to learn that one of 
the securities in which the surplus funds of the bank 
were then invested was "the Lead Company's" shares, 
which are still held by some of the partners, and 
continue to yield a profitable revenue. There is 
a record that in 1728 one of the then partners, 
Joseph Freame, had purchased the freehold premises 
in Lombard Street, at the corner of George Yard. 
In that year, Joseph Freame, described as *' citizen 
and goldsmith," traded in partnership with Thomas 
Gould, and continued to do so under the style of 
Gould & Freame, until 1736, when James Barclay 
entered the firm, and it is at this stage in the 
history of the bank that the name of Barclay first 
appears, that James being the son of David, and 
grandson of Kobert Barclay the Apologist. According 
to a genealogical tree of the Barclays of Urie (dated 
1812) which gives the history of the Barclays for 
nearly 800 years, it appears that the main branch 
of the Scotch family intermarried with the direct 
descendants of Edward III. of England and Eobert III. 


of Scotland, and it may be interesting to note that 
the Barclays of Barclay, Perkins & Co. are also 
connected with the same family. Thus it will be 
gathered that the tale of the intrcduction of James 
Barclay to the firm by the influence of George III. 
is simply a myth. One thing is quite clear, that so 
far back as the early part of the seventeenth century 
the Barclays were in frequent touch with royalty, but 
space will not permit us to give the many interest- 
ing and fascinating records to be found amongst the 
writings of old chroniclers. 

The Be vans appear to have been connected with 
this firm as far back as 1728. At all events, at 
that date Silvanus Bevan figures among the clients of 
the firm. The Bevan family is of Welsh extraction, 
and can trace its pedigree farther back even than 
that of the Barclays. The Mr. Silvanus Bevan 
referred to, if not an actual partner in the firm, 
was probably an ancestor of the first Mr. Bevan 
who entered the Lombard Street house, whose descen- 
dant, Mr. Francis Augustus Bevan, is now the chair- 
man of the Bank. This gentleman was educated at 
Harrow, under the late Dr. Vaughan, and entered the 
firm of Barclay, Bovan, Tritton & Co., as it was 
then called, on February 22nd, 1859. . 


It was in 1786 that Mr. Jolm Henton Tritton 
became a partner in the firm, and since that date 
various members of his family have held that respon- 
sible position. The present Mr. Joseph Herbert Tritton 
is the great-great grandson of John Hinton, and is 
one of the best known authorities in the banking 
world. Holding the high position of honorary secre- 
tary of the Bankers' Clearing House, the institution 
which is the pulse of the financial world, he is also 
one of the leading officials of the Institute of Bankers, 
the Bankers' Association, the Association of Country 
Bankers, the Bank Clerks' Orphanage, &c., &c. 

In this volume we have not space at our disposal 
to go at all adequately into the history of the 
members now constituting the board of management, 
nor can we deal with the remarkable life-story of 
many of the century old banks absorbed. If we were 
to do so we could fill volume after volume. So we 
will deal very briefly with two only of the amalga- 
mated banks — Eansom, Bouverie & Co. and Goslings, 
Sharpe & Co. 

Kansom, Bouverie, & Co. 
On the absorption by Barclays of this old west-end 
house the title of the establishment was altered to 

Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Eansom, Bouverie & Co. 
The house of Eansom & Co. dates back to 1746, when 
it was called Eansom, Morland & Hammersley. It is 
a curious fact that each of the partners subsequently 
opened separate banking establishments. Mr. Hammers- 
ley, in 1796, opened a house in Pall Mall, and 
Mr. Morland, twenty-three years later, started a bank 
of his own. In 1834 Messrs. Eansom & Co, removed 
to 1 Pall Mall East, where they remained. In 1856 
an amalgamation was effected with Messrs. Bouverie, 
Murdock, Bouverie & James, of 11 Haymarket, when 
the name was changed to Eansom, Bouverie & Co. 

With regard to Mr. Hammersley's bank, various 
partners were admitted from time to time, the firm 
in 1823, being Hammersley, Greenwood & Brookshank. 
They continued to conduct business as bankers till 
1840, when they were absorbed by Messrs. Coutts & Co. 
The premises which they occupied in Pall Mall were 
subsequently taken by the London Joint- Stock Bank, 
a branch of which was established there in 1842. 
It was in 1888, June 23rd, that the announcement 
of the amalgamation of this old bank with that of 
Barclay, Bevan, Tritton & Co. first appeared, and, 
it is needless to say, caused quite a flutter of surprise 
amidst the banking fraternity. 


Goslings & Sharpes, 
or " The Three Squirrels," to give it its title of the 
days of long ago, was absorbed by Barclays in 1896, 
and most Londoners were sorry to see that one of 
the old historic institutions of the metropolis had 
sunk its identity by amalgamating, even with one of 
the strongest and most progressive banks in the 
country. The old house was next door to "The 
Palace of Henry VIII. and Cardinal Wolsey." Even 
to-day we can see on the new building which 
Barclays have erected on the site of Goslings the 
" three squirrels." It would have been a thousand 
pities for this sign to have been removed, as Goslings 
were goldsmiths and bankers upwards of two centuries 
ago. So far back as 1650 one, Henry Pinckney, was 
carrying on the business of goldsmith at this house. 
It was about 1650 that the goldsmiths of Lombard 
Street and the Cheap, began to migrate towards 
Fleet Street and the Strand, and it is not unlikely 
that Pinckney 's was the original business. The house 
was destroyed in the Great Fire, and, to encourage 
the landlord to re-build, Thomas Thorold included 
the ground previously occupied by the adjoining house, 
"The Holy Lambe." The present building includes 


the sites of '* The Golden Dragon," " The Crown," 
*'The Wheatsheaf," "The Three Daggers," and ''The 
Gun in Hand Alley" (otherwise "Hercules Pillars' 
Alley "). 

Mr. Hilton Price speaks of a draft drawn on 
Sir Francis Child by the Earl of Gainsborough, 
dated "Ye 12th of May, 1705," which runs as 
follows : " Sir, — I desire you to pay unto Mr. Pinck- 
ney, goldsmith, three days after sight of this, the 
somme of forty-one pounds fourteen shillings." This 
shows that "The Three Squirrels" and "Ye Mari- 
gold" had business relationship. 

Noble remarks : "It must have been about this 
period (1674) that the name of Gosling first became 
associated with the firm, for among several pay- 
ments in the Secret Service Money of Charles II. and 
James II. occurs this entry : ' To Richard Bokenham 
in full for several parcels of gold and silver lace 
bought of William Gosling and partners on May 2, 
1674, by the Duchess of Cleaveland for the wedding 
cloaths of the Lady Sussex and Lichfield, £646 8s, 6d.'" 

We may enumerate here a few of the customers of 
the bank whose names are of historical interest. Lord 
Campbell, Lord Denman and Lord EUenborough kept 


their accounts here, as did also Lord Clive and 
Warren Hastings. Amongst literary celebrities are to 
be found Law, Bishop of Carlisle; Percy, Bishop of 
Dromore ; Alexander Pope and Samuel Richardson. 
Of newspapers, The Times and The Morning Advertiser 
were old customers. Such is a brief history of an 
establishment with a remarkable history. 

Subsequently Barclay & Co. have absorbed among 
others the private firm of Marten, Part & Co., of 
St. Albans, in 1892, and a few months later in the 
same year the company were sufficiently fortunate to 
procure the splendid and extensive business of the 
York Union Bank. Several other banks have since 
been added to the long hst of those which Barclay's 
have taken over. 

Below is a copy of the balance-sheet for the year 
ended December 31st, 1904 : — 

Liabilities. £ s. d. 

lb Current, Deposit and other Accounts ... 36,392,416 14 11 

,, Acceptances for Customers 141,884 1 4 

„ Capital, viz. : — 

346,500 shares of £20 each, £8 paid ... 2,796,608 

„ Reserve Fund 1,250,000 

£40,580,908 16 3 

By Cash in hand and at 
Bank of England 
and with other 
Bankers £5,023,183 2 11 

„ Cash at Call and at 

Short Notice ... 4,022,500 


Assets. £ s. d. 

9,045,683 2 11 

„ Investments 8,649,314 12 10 

,, Advances to Customers and Bills Dis- 
counted, including Brokers' Bills ... 21,395,081 5 1 
,, Liability of Customers for Acceptances (as 

contra) 141,884 1 4 

,, Balance of Bank Purchase Account ... 100,000 

,, Bank Premises and adjoining Property ... 1,248,945 14 1 

£40,580,908 16 3 



The Capital & Counties' Bank. 

This bank was, established more than seventy years 
ago, although not under its present name. It was on 
May-day, 1834, that the Hampshire Banking Company 
first saw the light of day with its head office in 
Southampton, but the lines on which it was started 
were sufficient guarantee that there was a long life 
before it. The original capital was £300,000, divided 
into 6,000 shares of £50 each. At an extraordinary 
meeting of the shareholders held on 30th October, 
1839, it was decided (1) to increase the capital by 
the creation of a further 2,000 shares ; and (2) to 
authorise the board to pay half-yearly instead of 
yearly dividends. These shares were issued at a pre- 
mium of £3 each. In 1848 a call of £5 per share 
was made ; and nine years later, the directors pro- 
posed that £20,000 should be taken from the reserve 
or guarantee fund and capitalised, by the issue to 
the then shareholders, pro rata, of 2,000 new shares 
at a premium of £2 per share. This wise move on 


the part of the directors immediately enhanced the 
repute which the bank already enjoyed, and, as 
a matter of course, made it still more popular, while 
business rapidly increased. In 1864 new capital being 
issued at a premium of £4 per share, raised the 
total paid up to £150,000, while the premiums being 
added to the reserve increased that fund to £50,000. 
In December, 1875, the paid-up capital stood at 
£200,000. Two years later an important step was 
taken, the title of the institution being altered to the 
Hampshire & North Wilts Bank, when a further new 
issue increased the capital to £300,000. From time to 
time this item has been increased through new issues 
necessitated by the acquisition of other businesses, or 
by the demands made by the steady growth of the 
legitimate business of the bank till at the present 
time it amounts to no less than £1,500,000, while 
the total subscribed is £7,500,000. 

While the capital has been frequently augmented 
the reserve fund has been well cared for, receiving 
not only the benefit of premiums on new issues 
from time to time, but also substantial subsidies out 
of the annual profits, so that now this item, which 
is of such special interest to the shareholders of any 
bank, approaches a million pounds sterling. 


Ths head office remained at Southampton till 1876, 
when it was removed to London, and, in 1878, the 
title was changed to the Capital and Counties' Bank, 
and the company was registered as a limited concern 
two years later. But though the bank has made 
steady headway there have been times when, like its 
competitors, it has keenly felt the strain of competi- 
tion. After having entered the metropolis the one 
great desire of the directors was to obtain a seat in 
the Clearing House, but space there, then as now, was 
very limited, and other competitors were in the field. 
In the report for the year ended 30th June, 1877, the 
following paragraph occurs : ** Shortly after commenc- 
ing business in London the directors applied to be 
admitted into the CleariDg House, but the committee, 
which consists of London bankers, decline to accede 
to the application. This decision has caused consider- 
able inconvenience to bankers generally, and admittedly 
to the London bankers themselves, as it has thrown 
out of the Cleariug House the transactions of fifty 
branch offices which have hitherto passed through that 
channel, and has also added to the risk attendant 
upon the collection, on both sides, of cheques and 
other cash documents payable in London. The 


directors have taken steps to mitigate, so far as 
possible, the inconvenience to their country corres- 
pondents, and they hope the time is not far distant 
when the London bankers, who at present have the 
exclusive privilege of entry to the Clearing House, 
will take a broad view of the situation, and extend 
the advantages of clearing to all bankers having City 
offices." This wish is even now strongly endorsed 
and re-echoed by bankers generally, but it will be 
a long day before such a desirable result can be 
arrived at. There are in the city many large banks 
still debarred the advantage of having a seat in 
Post Office Court, and though the Clearing House 
authorities have exerted all their powers and exer- 
cised all their ingenuity in enlarging and increasing 
the accommodation of the building there must be 
a limit, and hemmed in as the House is by other 
buildings it seems to us that for many a year to 
come no more banks can be admitted except by — 
let us hope a highly improbable contingency — one or 
other of those now occupying seats retiring. The 
only other course by which increased accommodation 
could be procured would be by the purchase of 
a larger site and the consequent erection of a much 


larger buildmg— an end to be most devoutly desired 
by all London bank officials. 

The first balance-sheet of the Hampshire Banking 
Company, issued to the public in 1857, was as 
follows : — 

Dr. £ s. d. 

To Paid-up Capital, being £10 per share on 

8,000 Shares • 80,000 

„ Guarantee Fund 20,990 1 4 

„ Amount due to Customers on Deposit and 
Current Accounts, and upon Drafts in 
Circulation 531,392 8 10 

„ Profit 24,249 19 9 

£656,632 4 11 

Cr. £ 8. d. 

By Cash at Call, Bills Discounted, Loans, and 

other Securities 649,632 4 11 

„ Cost of Bank Premises 7,000 

£656,632 4 11 

Here we must call attention to the slow progress 
the bank had made up to that date, when it had 
been established about twenty-three years. This does 
not sound very promising, but it must be remem- 
bered that when the bank was first established, 
Southampton, which was selected for the head- 
quarters, had a population of some 85,000 only. 


Compare that with the population to-day, and at 
the same time compare the balance of current and 
deposit accounts, £631,000, in 1857 with the 
£28,251,167 of forty-seven years afterwards — the 
amount of money entrusted to the custody of the 
bank on current and deposit accounts at the date of 
the last annual balance-sheet. 

By glancing at the old balance-sheets a continuous 
growth of the current and deposit accounts can be 
noticed, but the enormous increase in the figures is 
due to a considerable extent to the absorption of 
other banking institutions — and such amalgamations 
or absorptions have always been most judicious, and 
turned out very successful. In 1840 an amalgama- 
tion was effected with the Southern District Banking 
Company, an opening which was exceedingly advan- 
tageous to the bank, as it provided several establish- 
ments in the Isle of Wight. In 1854 the private 
firm of Wickham, Baily & Rawlins, of Winchester, 
was absorbed; and, in 1861, the private bank of 
Atkins & Son, of Portsmouth, was purchased. But 
these were only the commencement of a policy to be 
developed later. In 1863 the old established house of 
Seymour & Co., of Basingstoke and Odiham, was 
secured, and in 1878 +.he Hampshire Banking Company 


bought up the English & Jersey Union Bank of 

In 1876 the bank took a most important step in 
advance — the head office was removed to London, and 
bankers in the metropolis rightly assumed that this 
was simply the prelude to further and greater develop- 
ments. They had not to wait long, as the next 
year it was announced that the North Wilts Banking 
Company, with numerous branches and sub-branches, 
had been secured. Then it was that the title of 
the institution was altered to the Hampshire & North 
"Wilts Bank, Limited, an unwieldy name, which was 
soon after changed to the Capital & Counties' Bank, 
Limited. In 1878, the old private house of Willis, 
Percival & Co., of Lombard Street, having suspended 
payment, the Capital & Counties came on the scene, 
took the premises, bought the business, naturally 
assuming that this step would secure a seat in 
the House. This event did not come oif, however, 
and the enterprising bank had to wait until the 
Central and the London & South- Western had pre- 
ceded it before the chance came for crossing the 
sacred threshold of the Temple of Mammon. In 1888 
two private banks were purchased — Haydon & Co., of 
Guildford; and Locke, Tugwell & Meek, of Devizes. 


We have already commented on the importance of 
the absorption of the North Wilts Banking Company, 
a still more far-reaching amalgamation was effected 
in 1886, when the Capital & Counties procured the 
Gloucestershire Banking Company, Limited, with no 
less than forty-two offices in the west of England. 
Still with an eagle eye on eligible openings for new 
or extended business, the firm of Knight & Son, of 
Farnham, was bought in 1886. Four years passed in 
a state of quiescence so far as further extensions by 
absorptions were concerned, but lost time was then 
rapidly made up. In 1890 the Western Counties' 
Bank was taken over, to be followed a little later 
by the absorption of the Northamptonshire Banking 
Company, which latter gave the Capital an open- 
ing in a comparatively new direction. In 1891 the 
two banks of Garfit, Claypon & Co., Limited, of 
Boston, &c., and Watts, Whidborne & Co., of Teign- 
mouth, &c., were procured. In 1893 the old established 
houses of Mellersh & Co., of Godalming, and of 
Wells, Hogge & Lindsell, of Baldock and elsewhere, 
were procured. These are by no means all the kindred 
institutions taken over, for, in 1901, the well-known 
and greatly respected firm of Lacon, Youell & Co,. 


of Yarmouth and elsewhere, was purchased, as was 
also the splendid business of Moore & Eobinson's 
Nottinghamshire Banking Company. The following 
year the sound little "Cornish Bank" was procured, 
and later the two coveted houses of Hammond, 
Plumptre, Hilton <k Co. (of Canterbury), and 
Foster & Co. (of Cambridge, &c.). 

It must, however, be borne in mind, that while 
the bank was thus rapidly extending its sphere of 
influence by judicious amalgamations and absorptions, 
it was at the same time rapidly catering for the 
needs of its customers by opening branches and offices 
in all directions. Although, of necessity the figures 
which appear in the published balance-sheet have natur- 
ally been greatly augmented by these many combina- 
tions of interests, it must at the same time not be 
forgotten that no little of the remarkable increase 
in the liabilities to the public on current and deposit 
accounts, and the bank's position to meet that liability 
is caused by the steady and continuous increase of 
a business, solidly founded, and well conducted. 

The bank issues a balance-sheet annually, that for 
the 80th June last being as follows, the figures will 
speak for themselves : — 

Of tKf 


^ OF 

Liabilities. £ s. d. 

To Capital, viz : — 

150,000 Shares of £50 each, £10 paid... 1,500,000 

„ Reserve Fund 900,000 

,, Amount due on Current, Deposit and other 

Accounts 28,251,167 14 9 

„ Acceptances covered by Cash or Securities 457,625 6 2 

„ Endorsements on Foreign Bills negotiated 16,439 2 2 

Net Profits £322,604 4 8 

Jan. Divi- 
dend... £118,000 

on New 
Shares 3,466 13 4 

July Divi- 
dend... 120,600 

on the 
cost of 
Premises 20,000 

tion ... 10,000 

272,866 13 4 

49,737 11 4 

£31,174,969 14 5 

Assets. £ 8. d. 

By Cash at Head Office, Branches, and Bank 

of England 4,558,908 9 5 

„ Money at CaU and Short Notice 3,057,472 12 9 

„ Investments 5,278,230 19 10 

,, Bills Discounted, Loans and other Accounts 16,933,421 16 9 

,, Liability of Customers for Acceptances as 

per Contra 457,625 6 2 

,, Liability of Customers for Endorsements 

as per Contra 16,439 2 2 

,, Banking Premises in London and Country 872,871 7 4 

£31,174,969 14 5 



Messrs. Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co. 

This is one of the largest banks in London, the 
amount and volume of its business being enormous. 
Probably a larger volume of business is transacted 
at 67 Lombard Street than at any other single insti- 
tution in the country. 

A very fair criterion as to the extent of the busi- 
ness of any of the banks which are members of the 
Bankers' Clearing House is the staff which it is 
necessary to keep at the House itself in order to 
carry through the daily transactions. There are not 
many of the London clearing banks employing a larger 
staff than Glyn's. 

This firm sprung into existence about 1754 — the 
exact dafce is uncertain — under the name of Vere, 
Glyn, HalUfax & Co. In 1770 the firm consisted 
of Sir Kichard Glyn, Knt. and Bart., and Thomas 
Halhfax, and carried on business at 18 Birchin Lane. 
In 1789 business was conducted at 12 Birchin Lane, 
from which address in 1826 the bank was removed 


to 67 Lombard Street, the premises which have ever 
since been occupied by the firm. 

The foUowmg remarks by Mr. Hardcastle, written 
in 1842, anent this bank will be of interest: '^Glyn's, 
in Lombard Street, is a complete contrast to that of 
Coutts. Here, in addition to a large portion of the 
accounts of the nobility and landed gentry, is the 
greatest number of commercial accounts in London, 
and here scenes of bustle and animation take place 
daily, of which it is not easy to convey an adequate 
idea. About three o'clock all is life, activity, and 
vigour ; the* place is a fair, and more like a great 
'change than the Royal Exchange itself used to be. 
Though the bank is spacious, and the counters are 
packed with clerks as close as they can stand together, 
you may sometimes have to wait for twenty minutes 
before your turn to be served arrives. Such is the 
rush of business at Glyn's. Two mighty streams of 
money are constantly ebbing and flowing across the 
counters, and £500,000 is said to be no uncommon 
sum for the firm to settle at the Clearing House of 
an afternoon. In this respect Glyn's bank, more than 
any other, is characteristic of the age. The rapid pro- 
gress of modern discoveries, the exploring genius, the 


accumulated strength and ponderous force of the in- 
ventions and improvements of the nineteenth century, 
are all represented in this one bank, and not by any 
means to an equal extent in any other. The talent 
by which this great concentration of interests has 
been effected is of the highest order. It combines 
intelligence of the most vivid character and judge- 
ment of the keenest power. It draws even more 
largely upon mental than upon pecuniary resources, 
great as the latter unquestionably are, and is equally 
felicitous and original. 

** Old Mr. Lefevre, one of the principal founders 
of Curries & Co.'s bank on Cornhill, and the father 
of the then Speaker of the House of Commons, 
illustrated his theory of banking one day in a signi- 
ficant manner. The customer in question was one 
of those men who find it very convenient to have 
bad memories. His account was almost always over- 
drawn, and whenever spoken to upon the subject his 
answer was the same, ' He really had forgotten how 
it stood.' At last Mr. Lefevre, who had watched 
his opportunity, caught him one day at the counter 
and said to him, ' Mr. , you and I must under- 
stand one another something better than we seem 


to do. I am afraid you don't know what banking 
is; give me leave to tell you. It's my business to 
take care of your money ; but I find you are always 
taking care of mine. Now that is not banking 

Mr. , it must be the other way. I'm the 

banker, not you; you understand me now, Mr. , 

I'm sure you do.' Mr. Lefevre, though a very silent 
and reserved character, was not without his vein of 
sly humour. One day he happened to have at 
dinner a great talker — one of those monstrous bores 
who will speak without ever saying anything worth 
listening to ; who seem to think it an essential con- 
dition of existence that a man should never cease 
to hear the sound of his own voice, and who continue 
talking incessantly as if the hidden principle of per- 
petual motion lay in the tongue. After enduring this 
volume of sound — signifying nothing — for some time 
with exemplary patience, Mr. Lefevre, to the aston- 
ishment of the company, very quietly suppressed the 
nuisance by taking advantage of a short pause in his 
monopolylogue, and simply observing, 'You need not 

talk any more Mr. , if you don't like it.* " 

In 1851 the bank was Glyn, Mills & Co., which 
name it -retained till 1864, when an amalgamation 


was effected with the old house of Curries & Co., of 
Cornhill, frora which date the name has been Glyn, 
Mills, Currie & Co. 

The firm of Curries & Co., started in 1773 after 
the failure of Neale, James, Fordyce & Co., at 
89 Cornhill, under the name of Mason, Currie, 
James & Yallowly. Yallowly was formerly a clerk 
in the employ of Neale, James, Fordyce & Co., and 
James, who appears as a partner in the one firm, 
was probably identical with the James of the ether. 
Various changes took place in the firm, till in 1814 
it was known as Curries, Eaikes & Co. In 1827 the 
title was changed to Currie & Co., and fifteen years 
later an amalgamation took place between this house 
and that of Dorrien & Co., of Finch Lane. In 1864, 
as already stated, Curries & Co. and Glyn, Mills & Co. 
amalgamated. The firm of Dorriens & Co. was estab- 
lished in Finch Lane so far back as 1770 under the 
name of Dorriens, Euckers & Carleton. 

It has already been mentioned that Curries & Co. 
started business after the failure of Neale, James, 
Fordyce & Co. Of this latter firm Fordyce, its 
head, was originally only a clerk. He — at one time 
an Aberdeen hosier — when employed by the banking 


house, showed so much aptitude and abihty that he 
was soon elected as a partner, the house then being 
known as Koffrey, Neale & James, but the spirit of 
speculation took possession of him, and meeting with 
success he soon made use of his partners' funds as 
well as his own. Success attended all his efforts, 
he on one occasion making £100,000 by a single 
stroke. He bought an estate, married a lady of 
title, and contributed liberally to all sorts of charit- 
able institutions. His partners were proud of the 
ability of their colleague. 

But, as is usual, success of that kind cannot con- 
tinue for ever, and sooner or later a check comes. 
Fordyce proved no exception to this rule. A specu- 
lation into which he had entered turned out disas- 
trously, and he lost £100,000 over it. Other losses 
followed, and the guardian spirit, which hitherto had 
assisted him, apparently completely changed its tactics, 
and lured him to his ruin. Failure after failure — 
and heavy ones, too — compelled him to draw more 
and more on the resources of the firm. His co- 
partners became frightened and expostulated, but all 
to no purpose. His plans were keen and well laid 
as ever, but circumstances appeared leagued against 


him. In spite of the continued run of ill-luck he kept 
cool, calm, collected, dignified, as in his palmiest days. 
But it was impossible that he could long sustain 
the enormous strain upon him, and one day he was 
not at his post at the banking house. His partners 
were greatly concerned, as the affairs were in a most 
unsatisfactory condition, and became alarmed at his 
continued absence. Soon the bank stopped payment. 
A great consternation and much indignation was the 
consequence, in the midst of which Fordyce returned. 
He made a confession which entirely exonerated his 
partners from all blame ; he stated that he alone 
was the guilty party. 

The stoppage of the house had a wide and disas- 
trous effect. Many other houses had to suspend 
payment, amongst others were Glyn & Hallifax, but 
they resumed in a few days. It is said that Drum- 
mond's were only saved by General Smith, who 
advanced them £150,000. Two city gentlemen, ruined 
by the stoppage, shot themselves. 

It is due to Fordyce to say that when he found 
the close corner into which his speculations were 
driving him he made the most strenuous efforts to 
bolster up the house which was tottering to its fall. 


There is a good tale told of one person to whom 
he made application. He went one day to a Quaker 
and applied for assistance, putting his case, no doubt, 
in a very strong Hght. The Quaker listened atten- 
tively, and then remarked, ** Friend Fordyce, I have 
known many men ruined by two dice, but I will not 
be ruined by four dice." 

Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co. were the first of the 
private banks to adopt the joint- stock system of 
issuing balance-sheets. The business has been built 
up by a series of very able men, such as the first 
Lord Wolverton, Mr. G. Carr Glyn (chairman of the 
London & North- Western Eailway), Mr. Charles Mills 
(afterwards Sir Charles Mills, a wealthy West Indian 
merchant), Sir Charles Mills, the first Lord Hilling- 
don, the Hon. Pascoe C. Glyn (chairman of the 
London & Brazilian Bank), Mr. B. W. Currie (son 
of Eaikes Currie, formerly M.P. for Northampton and 
member of the Indian Council, who was the first 
person applied to by the Bank of England over the 
Baring crisis). 

The following extract from a book published in 
1842 will doubtless be of interest* : ** Attempts have 

* ** Banks and BankerB," by Daniel Hardcastle, jun. 

been made to emulate this unexampled fortune, but 
they have proved abortive. The persons who made 
them have not been at all equal to the aspiration ; 
they have been deficient in the knowledge of their 
own business as much as in knowledge of mankind, 
without which there can be no good or safe banking, 
and have exhibited sad examples of rashness and 
credulity, improvidence and culpability. Some have 
formed branch mercantile firms and embarked in the 
tea trade, some in the East India, and some in the 
American trades, while a still greater number have in- 
volved themselves in the favourite speculations of their 
customers, until house after house have shared the 
common reverses of commerce, and suffered the fate 
of the various adventures, which, after first running 
them to a dead lock-up, have forced them to succumb 
in poverty and disgrace to one or other of the 
repeated shocks by which the credit of the mercantile 
and manufacturing interests of Great Britain have 
been of late years so disastrously assailed. No faults 
of this kind appear to have been committed at Glyn's 
Bank, the partners of which, taking admirable advan- 
tage of circumstances, have turned the spirit of the 
age largely to their profit, without violating the 
established principles of sound and legitimate banking. 


"If there were half-a-dozen houses in London such 
as Glyn's, one would be inclined to contend that 
private banking has not yet reached the climax of 
its prosperity. But, seeing as we do, that every 
year diminishes the number of private banks in 
London and in the country ; that, on the other hand, 
joint- stock banks are everywhere on the increase, 
while not a single new private co-partnership in 
banking is now formed ; it seems but reasonable to 
believe that the general law of change which applies 
to everything in this world, and those alterations in 
maturity and decay which occur in all that nature 
creates or the art of man produces, will, ere long, 
work the ordinary effects in banking also, If so, 
we are in a state of transition as to banking, and 
the results will be not the less decided and complete 
because it will be neither precipitate nor unexpected.'* 

In his very interesting book ** The Signs of Old 
Lombard Street," Mr. Hilton Price, referring to the 
premises of this bank, says : *' No. 67. This house 
was supposed to occupy the site of ' The Anchor,' 
but which * Anchor,' whether • The Anchor and Three 
Crowns ' or • The Blew Anchor ' we cannot tell ; but 
Messrs. Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co. possess a tradition 


that the house was ' The Anchor,' therefore there is 
little doubt about it. This house has not much 
history. In 1801 Messrs. Bowles, Brown & Co., 
bankers, occupied it for a few years, and in 1827 
Messrs. Glyn, Mills & Co. took the house, having 
moved out of Birchin Lane. No. 67 was the resi- 
dence of Sir Martin Bowes, who died in 1666, seized 
of * The White Lion,' in the parish of St. Mary 
Woolnoth, Lombard Street, leaving it to his son 
Thomas by will. It has always been supposed that 
Sir Martin left this house to the Goldsmiths' Com- 
pany; it is quite certain that it belongs to them, 
and has done so since 1610. This is the second 
time Messrs. Glyn & Co. had premises in Lombard 
Street. They now occupy a very large block from 
Birchin Lane on the east to Change Alley on the 
west, comprising Nos. 68 to 67, and all the houses 
in the rear to Change Alley on the north." 

In his ** Handbook of London Bankers," Mr. Hilton 
Price says : '• This firm, which has the reputation 
of having a larger business than any private bank- 
ing house in the city of London, appears to have 
commenced in Lombard Street (so far as can be 
told by ' The Little London Directory ') between the 


years 1740 to 1754, the precise date being difficult 
to ascertain in consequence of no list of bankers 
being forthcoming for the interval between those two 
dates. The style of the firm in 1754 was Vere, 
Glyn, & Hallifax. There is little doubt that the 
firms of Vere, Glyn & Co. and Vere, Asgill & Co. 
had a common origin, and were started by Mr. Joseph 
Vere, and that between 1752 and 1754 a dissolution 
took place in the partnership, as we find upon a cash 
note of Messrs. Samuel Child & Co., of September, 
1752, the following endorsement: *J. Meredith, wit- 
ness, T. Huck, for Messrs. Vere, Asgill & Co.' ; 
and upon a similar note of Child & Backwell's in 
February, 1754, * Eobert Carr, witness T. Huck, for 
Messrs. Vere, Glyn & Co.'" 

The latter firm moved to Birchin Lane, whereas 
Asgill & Co. remained in Lombard Street. In 1754, 
Henry Milton witnessed signatures for the firm, and 
he was subsequently admitted into the partnership. 
In 1770, their house in Birchin Lane was numbered 
18, and the firm consisted of Sir Kichard Glyn, 
knight and baronet, M.P. for the City of London, 
Alderman of Dowgate Ward, and a colonel in the 
City Militia ; and Thomas Hallifax, who was Alderman 


of Aldersgate Ward. About 1773 Sir Eichard Glyn 
retired, and Sir Thomas Hallifax became the head of 
the firm, and admitted three partners, the firm in 
that year consisting of Sir Thomas Hallifax, Mills, 
E. C. Glyn & Milton. The next change to be noted 
was in 1777, when Mr. Charles Mills came into the 
firm as fourth partner. In 1788 or 1784 Mr. Mills, 
senior's name disappeared from the firm, which be- 
came Sir Thomas Hallifax, Eichard Carr Glyn, Charles 
Mills & Henry Milton. In 1789 the name of Sir 
Thomas Hallifax is not seen, and the business was 
conducted at 12, Birchin Lane, by E. C. Glyn, 
Mills & Milton. About 1790, according to the 
''Directory," Eichard Carr Glyn was knighted. In 
1791 the firm was Glyn, Mills, Hallifax & Co., and 
it continued so until 1811, when the style of the firm 
became Glyn, Mills, Hallifax, Glyn & Co., so re- 
maining until 1823, when another Mr. Mills came 
into it. In 1826 they moved to their present pre- 
mises, No. 67, Lombard Street, which house belongs 
to the Goldsmiths' Company, having been left to 
them by Sir Martin Bowes, the eminent goldsmith, 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The^, style of the 
firm was again altered in 1830 to Sir E. C. Glyn, 


Hallifax, Mills & Co., consisting of Thomas Hallifax, 
Charles Mills, Sir Richard P. Glyn, Bart., George 
Carr Glyn, Thomas Hallifax, junr. and Edward Wheler 
Mills. In 1851 it became Glyn, Mills & Co., which 
it continued to be till 1864, when an amalgamation 
was effected with the old firm of Curries & Co., since 
which time the style of the firm has been Glyn, 
Mills, Currie & Co. 

The balance-sheet, dated 81st Januuary, 1904, 
showed as follows : — 

Thibty-Ninth Statement of Assets and 


3l8T December, 1904. 

Dr. Liabilities. 

£ s. 



Capital Paid up 



Reserve Fund 



Current Accounts 

10.357,136 8 



Deposit Accounts 

3,454,556 10 



Reserve for Premises 



Liabilities on Account of Acceptances, 
Endorsements, &c. (covered by 
Securities), not included in Balance- 
sheet : — 

£1,434,255 12 11 

£15,371,692 19 


Cr. Assets. £ s. d. 

By Cash in Hand and at Bank of England 1,791,212 6 5 

„ Money at Call and at Short Notice ... 4,346,545 2 

i, Investments : — 

,, Two and a-half per cent. Con- 
sols and Exchequer Bonds... 1,500,000 

„ Securities of, or guaranteed 

by the British Government 1,273,858 9 8 

„ Government of India and 
Colonial Government Se- 
curities 64,740 

2,838,598 9 8 

Bills Discounted, Loans and other Securities 6,215,337 Oil 
Bank Premises 180.000 

£15,371,692 19 



Lloyds' Bank, Limited. 

The largest bank in the world I Such, in a few 
words, is a true definition of Lloyds' Bank. Of 
course in making such a sweeping assertion we 
entirely exclude those banks holding Government 
deposits. We take the various banking institutions 
with the Government balances, if any, deleted, and 
contend that Lloyds is the largest bank in the 
world. In comparatively few years it has attained 
this proud position, which can be mainly attribut- 
able to wise direction, careful forethought, admirable 
organization, and an immediate grasp of valuable 
opportunities which presented themselves for judicious 
amalgamations and absorptions. Lloyds' Bank repre- 
sents a combination of all sorts of interests : it has 
been the pioneer of bank amalgamations and absorp- 
tions : it has out-distanced all its competitors and 
out-passed all its rivals. No opportunity of a really 
sound acquisition of business has been allowed to 


slip : a hawk's eye seems to have been kept on all 
available chances, and these have been acted upon 
without a moment's delay. 

When one glances back over past years one almost 
feels disposed to question whether the progress has 
not been too great, the amalgamations and absorp- 
tions too frequent, the rapid increase of business too 
rapid for the bank to adequately deal with it. But 
to all these doubts and fears the published audited 
balance-sheets give a most emphatic denial. The 
career of Lloyds has been one of uninterrupted pro- 
gress. Of course, when banking business has been 
very bad, this institution, like the bulk of the others, 
has had to drop its dividend, but that is merely 
a matter of account. In prosperous years a large 
proportion of the profits have been added to the 
reserve fund, so that the shareholders in "lean" 
years are quite satisfied that their material interests 
are well looked after ; with the result that there is 
now the substantial sum of £2,600,000 laying at the 
disposal of the directors for the purposes of the bank 
business or for the equalization of dividends. So far 
as we can see there has not been, from its incep- 
tion till the present day, one single slip in the 
management of this now gigantic financial institution. 


Let us go somewhat into its family history, for it 
is always interesting to most people to turn over old 
leaves. Although Lloyds' Bank, Limited, seems to 
many of us a comparatively recent institution it will 
not do to forget the fact that its origin dates back 
as far as 1764 or 1765. It was on the 20th April, 
one hundred years later, that Lloyds' Banking Com- 
pany, Limited, was incorported with a nominal capital 
of £2,000,000 divided into 40,000 shares of £50 each. 
The institution was formed by the amalgamation of 
two old private houses — Lloyds & Co. (better known 
as the Birmingham Old Bank) and Moilliet & Sons, 
who were also private bankers of Birmingham. The 
following extract from the original prospectus is well 
worth reading : — 

** After allotting 12,000 shares to Messrs. 
Lloyds & Co. and Messrs. Moilliet & Sons, it 
is proposed to issue 12,500 at a premium of 
£6 each, and this, it is estimated, will raise 
a sum equal to the amount required to be 
paid for the purchase of the goodwill, so that 
the whole amount to be received for deposits, 
and subsequent calls may be used for the 
purposes of the bank. It is proposed that the 


remaining 16,000 shares shall be reserved for 
issue at such premiums, at such times, and to 
such persons as the directors shall consider 
most conducive to the interests of the bank. 
The surplus premiums, if any, not required 
for the payment of the goodwill will be carried 
to the reserve fund, and it is intended that 
until such fund, arising from this source and 
from profits, shall amount to a sum equal to 
one-fifth of the paid-up capital no dividend 
shall be paid exceeding 10 per cent, per 
annum on the amount of paid-up capital." 

It was arranged that a deposit of £5, in addition 
to the premium, should be paid on the shares issued, 
and that further calls on the shares should be £2 10s. 
each. Then comes a most important condition, which 
shows that from the very first the bank recognised 
the importance of holding a substantial amount of 
reserved capital — to meet all requirements, available 
in case of need — the paragraph continuing: — 

*' The aggregate calls will not exceed £12 10s. 
per share ; the remaining £87 10s. is to be 
available for the ultimate security of the bank." 


It has been by this wise prescience that a great deal 
of the latter success of Lloyds has been due. 

No sooner had the bank started, and its principles 
were known and appreciated, than support came in 
from all sides. The intending customer knew full 
well that if Lloyds **took" his account he would 
be treated both fairly and well, that the reputation 
of the bank would most certainly reflect most materi- 
ally on his credit, and that the authorities would 
always be most willing to meet him in a fair spirit. 
The reputation which Lloyds at once enjoyed has 
been continuously maintained, despite the changes which 
have taken place in the board of management. The 
motto of the bank, all through, seems to have been 
"Onward," and by judicious extensions, courtesy, 
and sound business arrangements they have had a con- 
tinuous run of prosperity on the path of progress. 
And it must not be thought for a moment that the 
directorate have yet achieved the end of their ambi- 
tion, for it is a common remark in the city, *' What 
is Lloyds intending to do next ? " 

During the first year of its existence Lloyds absorbed 
the Wednesbury Old Bank (Messrs. F. & H. Williams) 
and when the first balance-sheet was issued the deposits 


exceeded £1,000,000. It is more than probable that 

a copy of the first published balance-sheet may be of 

interest. Here it is : — 

3l8T Dbcember, 1865. 

Capital Paid-up 

Deposit, Current, and other Accounts 

Reserve Fund 

Profit and Loss 


















126,170 16 










Cash in Hand, at Bank of England, and at 

Bills of Exchange 

Advances on Current Accounts, Loans on 
Stocks, Purchase Account, and other 

Bank Premises, Furniture, Fittings, &c. 

Preliminary Expenses, less Amount written 

It "was in 1866 that Lloyds first appeared as 
a power in the amalgamating world, and commanded 
the attention which has since been devoted to this 
great institution. It was in that year that the 
Warwick & Leamington Banking Company and the 
Stafford Old Bank (Stevenson, Salt & Co.) were taken 


over — two old institutions with very wide- spread con- 
nections in their respective districts. In 1868 the 
business of Messrs. A. Bullin & Son (the Rugby 
Old Bank) was secured, and four years later terms 
of amalgamation were arranged with the Wolverhamp- 
ton Old Bank (R. & W. F. Fryer). Two years after- 
wards Lloyds made a purchase of the Shropshire 
Banking Company. From that date the bank con- 
tinued to increase the grip already held of the Mid- 
lands — the total of the current and deposit accounts 
exceeding five millions sterling. It was in 1879 that 
a purchase of the Coventry & Warwickshire Banking 
Company was made, and the following year the busi- 
ness of Beck & Co. (the Shrewsbury & Welshpool 
Old Bank) was secured. After these developments 
there came a lull in the tide of absorptions and 
amalgamations. The financial world was on the qui 
vive, as it was well known that Lloyds had not 
come to a full stop. All bankers were on the alert 
as to what the next surprise would be — in what direc- 
tion would be the next spring. Year after year 
passed without any further developments, except that 
the total of the current and deposit accounts steadily 
and largely increased. Then, in 1884, came the 


announcement that terms of amalgamation had been 
arranged with two of the best known private houses 
in Lombard Street — two of the old London landmarks 
— Barnett, Hoares & Co. and Bosanquet, Salt & Co. 
— the former of which was established in 1677, 
and the latter in 1796. Of each of these we shall 
say more towards the close of this chapter. The 
name of the large and growing institution was, on the 
2nd April, 1889, altered to Lloyds, Barnetts & Bosan- 
quets' Bank, Limited. It is a great mistake for any 
bank to have too long and cumbrous a title, and 
soon the directors of Lloyds recognising this, proposed 
a resolution, which was immediately adopted, that 
once more the name of the bank should be Lloyds' 
Bank, Limited, only. 

But up to this period the amalgamations which 
Lloyds were destined to effect had scarcely begun. 
In 1888 the business of the private bankers, Pritchard, 
Gordon & Co. (of Broseley and Bridgnorth) was 
acquired, and the next year the Birmingham Joint- 
Stock Bank, Limited, and the Worcester City & County 
Banking Company, Limited, were absorbed. 

The entre to the London Clearing House by the ex- 
ceedingly judicious amalgamation with Barnett & Hoares 


was then beginning to tell its own tale, and no bank- 
ing official afterwards was in the least degree surprised 
at anything they heard about Lloyds. 

In 1890 the bank secured, by purchase or absorp- 
tion, the two century old private houses of Wil- 
kins & Co. (founded in 1778), and Beechings & Co. 
(of Tunbridge "Wells, Tonbridge, Hastings, &c.). 
Having thus got well established in the south of 
England the directors strengthened their position by 
purchasing the business of Cobb & Co. (of Margate) 
— a business established in 1785. The same year they 
procured the bank of Hart, Fellows & Co., of Not- 
tingham (1808). It was in this year, too, that a very 
important private institution in the city of London was 
secured — that of Messrs. Praed & Co., of Fleet Street, 
one of the old firms of goldsmiths. Not content even 
with this splendid stroke, nor with the fact that the 
balance of current and deposit accounts now exceeded 
£21,000,000, Lloyds, in 1892, was fortunate enough 
to secure the business of the widely known old bank- 
ing firm of Richard Twining & Co., of the Strand. 
During the same year the Bristol & West of England 
Bank was taken over, and by this judicious move 
Lloyds obtained a footing in Wales and the west 


of England, hitherto not obtainable ; and they have 
not been slow in making the most of it. This one 
step had given the bank forty fresh offices. The 
following year the business of Curteis, Pomfret & Co., 
of Rye, was secured, and soon after terms of arrange- 
ment were made for amalgamation with or absorp- 
tion of Herries, Farquhar & Co., of St. James's 
Street, — the firm, one of the earlier partners, or 
founders, of which has been quite erroneously credited 
with the honour of being the inventor of circular 
notes, which, as a matter of fact were, it has been 
clearly proved, in current use in the flourishing days 
of Nineveh. This arrangement gave the bank a splendid 
west-end and aristocratic connection, and increased its 
reputation greatly. 

In 1894 the business of Bromage & Co. (established 
1819) the Old Bank, Monmouth, was absorbed. In 
1895 Lloyds were very fortunate in securing the busi- 
ness of Paget & Co., of Leicester, a rich bank, 
remarkably well connected, which was founded in 
1825. The absorption of Williams & Co., the Old 
Bank, Chester, strengthened the position still further 
in the north-west of England. As the bank had 
been established since 1792, it will be readily admitted 


that its connection was considerable. During the same 
year a very discreet move in advance was made by 
the purchase of the County of Gloucester Bank, the 
many branches of which tended to foster the growth 
of the already extensive business of Lloyds in that 
district. In 1898 the tiny bank of Jenner & Co. 
was purchased, but in 1899 the more than century 
old private banking house of Stephen Blandy & Co., 
of Beading, was procured, and the same year terms 
of amalgamation were arranged with the wealthy 
Burton Union Bank, Ltd. 

These amalgamations, however, were only a prelude 
to the next grand coup for which Lloyds were pre- 
paring. Much had already been doue, much more 
had to be done ; the financial world had been sur- 
prised before, now it was going to be far more 
startled, with such a shock as it had not experienced 
since the notice of the banks taken over by Barclay 
some years before. In the year 1900 it was announced 
that terms of amalgamation had been arranged with 

Cunliffes, Brooks & Co., Manchester, &c. (estab- 
lished 1792), 

Brooks & Co., London (established 1864). 

William Williams, Brown & Co. Leeds (estab- 
lished 1818). 


Brown, Janson & Co., London (established 1813). 

Vivian, Kitson & Co., Torquay Bank (estab- 
lished 1832). 

Liverpool Union Bank, Limited. 

The importance of the acquisition of the first four 
in the above list will be readily recognised, but, 
perhaps, it may be that the purchase of Cunliffe 
Brooks, of Manchester, and the Liverpool Union Bank 
may have weighed heavier in the opinions of the 
banking world, since by procuring these two institu- 
tions Lloyds became a power to be reckoned with in 
the palatine county — a position the bank had not 
hitherto enjoyed. 

After a lull of two years the exceptionally good 
business of Messrs. Pomfret, Burra & Co., the bank 
of Ashford, Kent, was secured, as was also the sound 
little connection of the Bucks & Oxon Bank, Limited. 

In 1903 the directorate took an exceptionally wise 
step in securing the magnificent business of Hodgkin, 
Barnett & Co., of Newcastle- on-Tyne and elsewhere. 
It is true that this bank was only started in 1859, 
but in the troublous times through which the north 
of England has passed, it has made its mark, and 
has a history quite its own. The same year the 


business of Grant, Maddison & Co., of Portsmouth, 
was secured. 

The report of the directors for the year ended 
81st December, 1904, presented to the shareholders 
at the forty-seventh ordinary general meeting, held in 
Birmingham on the 27th January, 1904, was as 
follows : — 

*' The available profit for the past year, including 
the amount brought forward, after payment of salaries, 
pensions, other charges and expenses, and the annual 
contribution of £4,000 to the Provident and Insurance 
Fund, and making full provision for rebate, bad debts 
and contingencies, is £764,315 3s. 9d. Out of this 
an interim dividend at the rate of 17 J per cent, per 
annum, free of Income Tax, amounting to £310,450, 
was paid for the half-year ended the 30th day of 
June last ; £30,000 has been written off the Bank 
Premises Account, and £33,653 16s. Od. has been 
applied in payment of Income Tax on the dividends, 
etc. From the balance remaining, your directors 
recommend that a dividend of 15s. per share, being 
at the rate of ISf per cent, per annum for the past 
half-year, amounting to £332,625, be now declared, 
and that the balance, £57,586 8s. 9d., be carried 


forward to the Profit and Loss Account of the 
present year. Mr. Edward Nettlefold, of Harborne 
Hall, Birmingham, has been elected to a seat on the 
Board in the place of the late Sir Thomas Salt, 
Bart. The directors who retire at this meeting are 
Messrs. Charles Edward Barnett, J. B. Close Brooks, 
and Augustus William Summers. They are all eligible, 
and offer themselves for re-election." 
The balance-sheet for the year 1904 was as below : — 

Liabilities. £ s. d. 

Current, Deposit, and other Accounts, includ- 
ing Rebate of Bills and provision for Con- 

Profit and Loss Balance, as per Account below 

Bills Accepted or Endorsed 

Liabilities in respect of Customers' Loans 
to Brokers, fully secured... £48,500 

56,163,714 16 10 
390,211 8 9 




Capital Paid up, viz., 443,500 Shares of £50 

each, £8 per Share paid 3,548,000 

Reserve Fund 2,600,000 

£66,271,050 9 


Assets. £ s. d. 

Cash in hand and with the Bank of England 9,710,106 19 2 

Cash at CaU and Short Notice 4,716,903 3 9 

Bills of Exchange 6,996,079 11 6 

Consols (at 85) and other British Government 
Securities 6,144,919 9 5 

Indian and Colonial Government Securities, 
Corporation Stocks, English Railway De- 
benture and Preference Stocks, and other 
Investments 4,009,192 11 

31,577,201 14 10 

Advances to Customers and other Securities... 29,586,94115 6 

Liabilities of Customers for Bills Accepted or 
Endorsed by the Company 3,569,124 3 5 

Bank Premises (after appropriation from 
Profit, as below) 1,537,782 15 3 

£66,271,050 9 

Barnett, Hoabe & Co. 

A few words as to this old house may be of 
interest. Mr. F. G. Hilton Price states that it 
probably was one of the oldest businesses in London. 
For many years the bank occupied the site of the 
premises then known as *' The Black Horse," and 
it is interesting to note that during the last jubi- 
lations in the city, the old houses displaying their 
signs, Lloyds flaunted their '* Black Horse." From 
•• The Little London Directory " for 1677 it appears 
that a goldsmith of the name of Humph. Stocks 


was at ** The Black Horse," in Lombard Street. 
"Now it appears from Pepys' Diary," says Mr. Price, 
"that Mr. Stokes, as he was pleased to call him, 
was in existence in his time, fully twelve years 
earlier. He was probably Samuel Pepys' own gold- 
smith, and it was with him most likely that he kept 
his private account. That he bought his plate, &c., 
of him is proved by the following extracts from the 
diary. The account Pepys kept with Alderman Back- 
wall looks more like an official one than one of 
a private character. Under date 10th June, 1665, 
he writes : * Seeing and saluting Mrs. Stokes, my 
little goldsmith's wife, in Paternoster Eow, and there 
bespoken a silver chafing dish for warming plates.' 
Again, under date 2nd September, 1666, he writes : 
• And among others I now saw my little goldsmith 
Stokes receiving some friend's goods, whose house itself 
was burned down the day after.' " In 1740 Messrs. 
John Bland & Son were at "The Black Horse," 
but it was not till 1761 that the name of Barnett 
appeared for the first time, when the firm was known 
as Bland, Barnett & Co. Five years later the firm 
was known as Bland & Barnett. In 1770 the sign 


of "The Black Horse" became known as QQ Lom- 
bard Street, and about 1772-3 Mr. Samuel Hoare 
entered the firm as a partner. In 1790 Mr. Bar- 
nett, junr., was introduced to the firm, which was 
then known as Barnett, Hoare, Hill & Barnett. Mr. 
Hill became a partner in 1780, but the list of 1808 
shows that then he had left the firm. In 1826 the 
title of the bank was altered to Barnett, Hoare & Co., 
and remained so till 1864, when an amalgamation was 
effected with Ilanbury, Lloyds & Co., when it was 
again altered, this time to Barnetts, Hoares, Han- 
burys & Lloyd, the business being then conducted in 
both 60 and 62 Lombard Street. But very few 
changes took place till the union with Lloyds & Bosan- 
quets in 1884. 

Messrs. Bosanquet, Salt & Co. 
This bank, to which reference has already been 
made in this chapter, was established as far back 
as 1800, when Mr. Bosanquet, who had been a mem- 
ber of the firm of Sir William Leman, Balles, Fur ley, 
Lubbock & Co. since 1785 left, and entering into 
partnership with Messrs. Beachcroft & Reeves, started 
a separate establishment at 78 Lombard Street, under 


the title of Bosanquet, Beachcroft & Keeves. In 
1810 the firm was entitled Bosanquet, Beachcroft, 
Pitt & Anderson, Seven years later the name of 
Beachcroft had disappeared, and that of Franks was 
added, the house then heing known as Bosanquet, 
Pitt, Anderson & Franks. Mr. Whatman joined the 
bank in 1822, and we note that in the list of 
bankers for 1839 the name Pitt does not appear in 
connection with the firm. In 1843 Mr. S. Bosanquet 
died, and in the following year the firm was called 
Bosanquet & Franks. Mr. W. G. Whatman becoming 
partner in 1843 his name was added to the title of 
the firm. In 1855 Mr. Harman entered the firm, 
and eleven years subsequently Mr. Franks retired. 

In 1868 an amalgamation was effected with the 
Stafford Bank — Messrs. Stevenson & Salt — an institu- 
tion founded in 1787. ]n 1872 the title of the firm 
was Bosanquet. Salt, Whatman, Harman, Salt, Bosan- 
quet & Whatman, but when Lloyds came to London 
in 1887 and took over this old house and that of 
Barnetts Hoares the name of the amalgamated banks 
was altered to Lloyds, Barnetts & Bosanquets' Bank, 
Limited, only to be curtailed at a later date, as 
already stated. 


In "Wade's Chronology" there is a paragraph 
which probably refers to one of the partners of the 
firm of Bosanquet & Co. : — 

*'0n the 4th April, 1798, Messrs. Hellish, 
Bosanquet & Pole, merchants of the city, were 
stopped by three highwaymen on Honnslow 
Heath. After robbing them, without resistance, 
of their money and watches, one of the 
robbers wantonly fired into the chaise and 
mortally wounded Mr. Mellish." 



The London & County Banking Company, Limited. 

It was not long after the establishment of the 
London & Westminster Bank — only two years — when 
there was founded the Surrey, Kent & Sussex Bank- 
ing Company, which, in 1836, started business in 
High Street, Soufchwark. The principle inculcated by 
Mr. Gilbart had taken root, with the result that many 
were, disposed to adopt it as their own. Every year 
showed that Mr. Gilbart had hit on the right idea, 
catering for the small tradesmen, the middle class, as 
opposed to the rule that then obtained of allowing 
only the well to do and wealthy to have the privilege 
of "keeping a banker." 

When the London & County first started business 
as stated above the competition with and opposition 
from the private bankers was exceedingly keen, and 
so far as the latter were concerned, virulent. The 
private bankers considered the new joint-stock banks 
as interlopers founded and carried on with a view 
of ruining or seducing the business which had been 


in their band3 for centurieg. This had to be stopped 
at any cost, every possible obstacle must be thrust in 
the way; under no circumstances whatever could joint- 
stock banks be allowed to get a footing in the metro- 
polis. Still more, every influence possible must be 
brought to bear to prevent these " new fangled " so 
called banks from entering the sacred precincts of the 
Clearing House. Would these new institutions accept 
as a customer a man who could only keep as a balance 
of his current account JBSO, £25, or £20? Then, 
that being so, they had no right to call themselves 
bankers ; the whole fabric of existing banking tradi- 
tions must fall I And yet, strange to say, these new 
institutions not only flourished apparently, but in- 
creased in number. Not content with one office they 
opened branches, and what was still worse they seemed 
to be constantly increasing their business. 

But the strenuous opposition of the private bankers 
was of no avail. The joint-stock banks had " come 
to stay," and not all the concentrated energy of the 
descendants of the goldsmiths, backed by the en- 
venomed jealousy of the Old Lady of Threadneedle 
Street, could stop their progress. There had been 
a revolution, and a successful one, too. 


When the Surrey, Kent & Sussex Banking Com- 
pany was formed it was prepared to fight for its 
rights — and did so. There was no intention on the 
part of the directors to allow themselves to be 
quietly crushed out of the running. That this was 
their view is abundantly proved from the following 
excerpt from a report which appeared in the very 
early days of the bank : — 

"It (the bank) offers to individuals the opportunity 
of becoming their own bankers. As shareholders they 
participate in the profits of their accounts. If they 
require accommodation, a part of the consideration 
they pay for it returns to them. If they deposit, 
the amount is doubly fruitful. First, they receive 
from the bank interest on the sum deposited; and, 
secondly, they share in the profit which the bank 
itself makes by the use of their investments. In 
a word, private individuals, instead of giving the 
profit of their accounts to private bankers, by becom- 
ing shareholders in this and other joint- stock banks 
divide it among themselves." 

There was the gauntlet thrown down. The 
London & County practically challenged the private 


bankers to do their worst. They were quite pre- 
pared to stand or fall by their principles ; they 
made an offer to the public which no private bank 
could do, and at the same time it became well 
known that the London & County were as willing 
to accept small accounts as large ones. And that is 
the whole essence of the principle of joint-stocTc 

In 1837 the head office was removed to 71 Lom- 
bard Street, and in 1841 the business of Hector 
Lacey & Co., of Petersfield, and that of Emmer- 
son & Co., of Sandwich, were taken over. Almost 
immediately after the bank was opened for business, 
branches were established at Brighton, Maidstone, 
Canterbury, Sevenoaks, Croydon, Tonbridge, Lewes, 
Tunbridge Wells and AVoolwich. In 1842 the firm 
of Davenport, Walker & Co., of Oxford, and three 
years later that of J. Stovell, of Petworth, were 
absorbed. Thus it will be seen at quite an early 
date the London & County commenced to absorb 
other concerns, but, it must be noted, that the 
amalgamation mania has not affected them, for with 
the exception of two or three more fusions we shall 
mention directly, the bank has stood absolutely and 

entirely on its own merits, and the phenomenal growth 
of its liabilities and resources is entirely due to genuine 

In 1849 the business of Trapp, Halfhead & Co. 
was taken over, and in 1851 the Berks Union Bank 
was absorbed. In 1858 the London & County Bank 
purchased the business of the Western Bank of 
London, and their office in Hanover Square opened 
up a splendid business connection in that direction. 
In 1860 Messrs. Robert Davies & Co., an old firm 
of private bankers in Shoreditch, was absorbed, and 
through this the London & County got their foot 
firmly fixed in the east end of London, and we are 
sure that most people know that the Shoreditch estab- 
lishment is one of the most important branches the 
bank has. When the business of Messrs. Nunn & Co. 
was purchased in 1870 the Manningtree branch of 
the bank was started. From then till now no amal- 
gamations or absorptions of any importance have taken 
place, and the whole attention of the directors has 
been devoted to the consolidation and development of 
their business. That they have succeeded in this 
laudable programme none can deny since the balance- 
Bheets speak for themselves. 

It may be of interest to compare the following 
figures taken from the balance-sheets : — 

Current and Deposit Aooounts and Aoceptanoes. 

81st Dec, 




£351,000 (app 


£3,281,000 „ 


£12,250,000 „ 


£21,250,000 „ 


£30,500,000 „ 


£45,300,000 „ 


£46,161,224 „ 

Surely the London & County have reason to be 
proud of their record I Like the London & West- 
minster the career of this bank has been one of 
continuous prosperity; the directors have endeavoured 
to meet the ** people " and the *' people " have 
appreciated and reciprocated the endeavour, with the 
consequent result that the bank is to-day, as it has 
been for many years, one of the most popular in 
the country. 

There was one very important point which was in 
the earliest days of the career of the bank seized 
upon and followed up by the then directors, viz., that 
banking facilities were not needed by Londoners only, 


but that those in the suburbs had equal claims on 
the accommodation which a good bank could afford. 
Hence it was that the plan was adopted of opening 
up branch establishments in all the leading suburbs 
and those which showed signs of a later develop- 
ment, and in the home counties. The experiment 
proved eminently successful, so much so that there 
are few towns of any importance in the home 
counties, and few districts in the suburbs where 
a branch of the London & County Bank is not to 
be found. And when one is wandering through 
a strange town it is not a matter of much difficulty 
to distinguish which is the bank, since the board of 
the London & County make a point of having their 
buildings built both for utility and effect. There is 
nothing gaudy about them : everything looks, and is, 
good, solid, substantial. The buildings are an orna- 
ment to the district in which they are erected. 

With regard to the capital, which in 1837 amounted 
to £23,720, this important item has been frequently 
increased. By 1849, perhaps by the payments on 
shares allotted, it stood at £200,000. In 1867 this 
item was represented by £500,000. Four years later 
the bank issued 6,000 new shares, and in 1866, 


a further issue of 12,500 shares was made. In 1883, 
the paid-up capital amounted to ii2,000,000, at which 
figure it has since remained. Daring the whole 
period of its existence a very careful eye has been 
kept on the reserve fund, which was gradually in- 
creased, till in 1855 it reached more than £100,000 ; 
but by 1864, by steady accretions, this very impor- 
tant total stood at £240,675. When, as already stated, 
the capital of the bank was incrsased in 1869 to 
£1,000,000, the reserve fund was raised to £500,000, 
and, when the capital amounted to £2,000,000, the 
reserve fund was made up to half that amount. 
Whenever new capital was issued at a premium the 
reserve fund benefitted by the premium. Not content 
with this, for a long time past the directors have 
adopted a very wise policy — whenever the profits 
permitted they have allocated to the reserve fund 
substantial amounts, till to-day it is represented by 
no less than £1,850,000. 

And here we would remark that in addition to 
increasing the reserve fund the directors have con- 
sistently written down the value of their investments. 
Whether they set the example to or followed the 
other banks we are not in a position to say, but 


that the plan is aa excellent one is absolutely 

Looking at the last published balance-sheet again 
for a moment, we have no hesitation in saying that, 
taken at current market prices, the securities held as 
investments would not only realize the figure at 
which they are set down, but leave a surplus which 
would form a substantial second reserve fund. The 
same may be said with regard to the premises, which 
appear on the balance-sheet of the 81st December last 
as £784,207. Anyone connected or acquainted with 
London who knows the head office of the County — 
apart from its adjuncts — is perfectly well aware that 
that site alone is worth quite, if not more, than 
that amount. Then, too, it must not be forgotten 
that above and beyond the Lombard Street premises 
the London & County have some 200 other offices 
situated in all parts of the southern district of 
England. The value of these alone must be enor- 
mous, and yet we, the public, are informed by the 
printed statement of figures "Bank Premises in 
London and Country, with Fixtures, Fittings, &c., 
JB784,207 " 1 Here again the bank holds a splendid 
third reserve fund. 


Carefully directed, splendidly organised, remarkably 

well managed, the London & County has made its 

mark on the pages of banking history, and there is 

no doubt that for many a long day to come it will 

continue to hold the proud position of being one of 

the leading banks in the United Kingdom, and one 

of those most respected in the civilized world. The 

balance-sheet, as below, for the half-year ended 

81st December, 1904, will speak for itself: — 

Balanob-Shbbt of the London & County Banking Compant, 

3l8T December, 1904. 

Dr. £ 8. d, £ 8. d. 

To Capital subscribed £8,000,000 

,, Beserve Fund 

,, Due by the Bank on Current 
Accounts, on Deposit Ac- 
counts, with Interest ac- 
crued, Circular Notes, &c. 

,, Liabilities on Acceptances, 
covered by Cash, or Securi* 
ties or Bankers' Guarantees 

,, Rebate on Bills not due, 
carried to next Account... 

,, Net Profit for the half-year, 
after making provision for 
Bad and Doubtful Debts 

,, Transferred to Premises' 

,, Carried to Reserve Fund ... 

,, Profit and Loss Balance 
brought from last Account 


44,394,484 11 


1,766,740 5 


27,434 10 














— 266,391 1 


£49,805,050 8 



Cr. £ 8. d. £ s. d. 

By Cash at the Head Offtce and 
Branches, and with Bank 
of England 8,009,826 9 9 

,, Loans at Call and at Notice, 

covered by Securities ... 3,212,419 16 5 

,, Investments, viz. : — 

,, Consols registered and in 
Certificates, New 2^ per 
Cents., and National War 
Loan (£6,894,491 Ts. lid., 
of which £365,150 Os. Od. 
Consols is lodged for Public 
Accounts) ; Canada 4 per 
Cent. Bonds, and Egyptian 
3 per Cent. Bonds, Guaran- 
teed by the British Govern- 
ment 6,665,136 18 9 

,, India Government Stock and 
India Government Guaran- 
teed Kailway Stocks and 
Debentures 1,023,238 18 8 

,, Metropolitan and other Cor- 
poration Stocks, Debenture 
Bonds, English Eailway 
Debenture Stock and Colo- 
nial Bonds 1,694,882 8 5 

„ Other Securities 13,194 13 5 

-11,222,246 6 

9,396,452 19 

„ Discounted Bills Current ... 8,835,329 2 11 
J, Advances to Customers at 

the Head Office and Branches 17,800,073 19 3 

: 26,635,403 2 

,, Liabilities of Customers for 
Drafts accepted by the Bank 
(as per Contra) 1,766,740 5 

,, Bank Premises in London 
and Country, with Fixtures 
and Fittings 784,207 15 

£49,805,050 8 5 



The London & South- Western Bank. 

This bank is one whose history is of peculiar interest 
since its progress has been due solely and entirely to 
a steady increase of business, and the growth of its 
figures has been due absolutely to public appreciation, 
and by no means to amalgamations or absorptions. 
It is, as the name implies, a bank catering for London 
and the south-west. Like the London & County, the 
National Provincial, and the London & Provincial, the 
South-Western has watched the needs of the suburbs 
of the metropolis and done all that lay in its power 
to supply them. Its efforts have been thoroughly 
appreciated, the fine buildings erected are ornaments 
to the various districts, the officers employed are 
always courteous and obliging, the reports issued half- 
yearly are uniformly satisfactory, the audited balance- 
sheets shew a continuous progress, its reputation is 
increasing year by year, the directors and managers 
are ever on the alert for new opportunities of extend- 
ing their business, shareholders and customers alike 


are more than satisfied with the manner in which the 
busmess of the bank is conducted, not only at the 
head ofl&ce, but also at every one of the branches — 
no matter how small they may be ; so it is fair to 
assume that the bank has before it a long career of 
honourable progress and success. 

Such in a few words is a synopsis of the history 
of the London & South-Western Bank. No insti- 
tution in the country has more carefully disseminated 
its influence than has the South-Western. 

The institution was established in 1862, and at that 
date there was no bank on the one side of the Thames 
from the '* Elephant and Castle" to Croydon, and on 
the other from New Road (now Euston Road) to 
Watford and St. Albans. The South-Western can un- 
questionably claim to be the pioneers of suburban 
banking, and the fact that so many of the large banks 
have since followed the example thus set shows that 
the principle was a sound one, worthy of imitation. 
Take all the suburbs of London, even the compara- 
tively new ones, and if there be any banking accom- 
modation you are pretty well sure to see the London & 
South-Western on the scene. The management have 
all along exercised a great amount of foresight : they 


have not waited till a new district was fully deve- 
loped, but they have gauged the probabilities and 
opened a branch, so that as the district grew the bank 
could grow with it. Possibly, in the first instance 
there might not be anything like sufficient business to 
"keep" the branch, but the directors would be assured 
that the profits in the near future would more than 
recompense them for the original outlay, and we feel 
confident that in every instance their expectations have 
been amply realised. At the end of the year 1903 
the bank had no less than 119 branches in London 
and the suburbs, and 25 in the country, in addition 
to which there were also five sub-branches. 

As already stated the bank was founded in 1862, 
but business was not started till 1st July of the follow- 
ing year, the head office being established in Regent 
Street. Shortly afterwards branches were opened in 
Camden Town and Bristol. In 1865 the head office 
was removed to 29 Lombard Street, and in 1871 to 
7 Fenchurch Street. In 1888 a site was procured 
on the opposite side of the street, and the present 
magnificent building was erected, with the main 
entrance in Fenchurch Street, but a second, minor 
entrance in GracecHurch Street. The present head 

office is splendidly fitted up, and commensurate, as it 
should be, with the importance of the business of the 
bank. While speaking of the head office we would 
repeat our previous statement that the bank now 
possesses considerably more than 160 branches — some 
freehold, some leasehold — and in the balance-sheet for 
31st December last we find the item, *• Bank free- 
hold and leasehold premises, furniture and fittings, 
^6524,637 14s. 4d." There can be no question that 
the large number of splendid buildings owned by the 
South- Western, occupying, as most of them do, most, 
prominent positions, are worth, in the aggregate, much 
more than the amount which appears in the published 
statement. And when one adds the important position 
occupied by the head office, and the great intrinsic 
value of the site, one is driven to the conclusion 
that apart entirely from the amount specified as 
standing to the credit of the reserve fund, there is 
held a very large and very substantial second reserve 
in the difference between the published and hammer 
price of the buildings and furniture. 

The paid-up capital of the bank when the first 
balance-sheet was published was £58,125, but this was 
from time to time increased by the issue of new 


shares, until in 1877 it stood at £200,000, divided 
into 10,000 shares of £100 each, with £20 paid. The 
heavy remaining liabiHty seemed to debar many would- 
be investors from taking up an interest in the com- 
pany. So an extraordinary meeting of the share- 
holders was called and the matter placed clearly be- 
fore them — this was in May, 1883— when it was 
unanimously resolved to divide each share of £100 
with £20 paid into two shares of £50, with £10 
paid, it being understood that calls up to £10 per 
share would be made, as the business of the bank 
required increased capital. Thns the uncalled capital 
was reduced from four to two and a half times the 
amount paid up on each share. Four calls, each of 
£2 10s., were made in 1883, 1884, 1888, 1889, in- 
creasing the paid-up capital to £400,000. Next year 
it was decided to increase the subscribed capital, and 
10,000 new £50 shares (£20 paid) were issued at a 
premium of £12 10s. per share. This brought the 
total paid-up capital to £600,000, and the premiums 
thus received added a handsome amount to the reserve 
fund. Since that date, as the exigencies of business 
demanded, fresh capital has been issued at varying 
premiums, and the latter have invariably been added 


to the reserve fund, until now the authorised capital 
of the bank is £8,000,000, the subscribed ^62,500,000, 
and the paid-up £975,000. 

In the previous paragraph we have alluded to the 
reserve fund. The bank was opened in July, 1863, 
and the following year by the issue of new and un- 
allotted shares, a profit of £14,500 was made, and 
this was immediately assigned by the board as the 
nucleus of a reserve fund. The plan was an excel- 
lent one, and the fund, once started, rapidly grew, 
year by year, substantial sums being allocated to it 
from the current profits. In 1890, 10,000 new shares 
were issued at a premium of £12 10s. per share: 
these were allotted to the then shareholders, the 
market price of the shares being at that time 89- 
40. And so on. Each time the bank subsequently 
issued new capital the reserve fund benefitted by 
the transaction, as with its increasing reputation the 
bank could command a higher price in the market. 
Again, we would repeat that the issue of new shares 
has been purely and solely for the purposes of an 
ever enlarging business, a constantly increasing demand 
for new branches— but in no instance for the purpose 
of buying up some other banking institution. With 


this regular augmentation of the reserve fund, that 
important item now reaches the very substantial total 
of £950,000. While writing on this subject, we would 
call attention to another very important factor in 
the consideration and the stability of the bank. We 
allude to the "Investments." These are all of a very 
high character and appear on the balance-sheet at 
£3,872,344 15s. 4d. From time to time sums — fre- 
quently large sums of money, have been set aside 
from the profits of the bank to write down the figure 
at which these investments stood in the books, just 
in the same way as every half-year the directors have 
set and do set aside certain sums to decrease the book 
value of the '* bank premises." A year ago, as every- 
one knows, consols, the premier security, fell heavily, 
and most of the banks in the country decided to write 
their holding down to somewhat nearer the market 
price. For some time past the consols held by the 
London & South- Western Bank had been recorded 
at a very safe figure, but realizing the importance of 
the situation, the directors made in their report for 
81st December, 1903, the following announcement: — 
"from this amount the directors have applied 
£44,782 lis. 6d. in writing down reserve fund consols 
to £85 per cent. . . ." 

With other stocks also written down it is easy to 
see that here again the bank has another substantial 
reserve fund, the strength of which can only be dis- 
covered by calculation, and by information as to the 
figure at which the investments other than consols 
appear on the published statement. 

We have not a copy of the first published balance- 
sheet before us, but we learn that in it the total of the 
current and deposit accounts appeared as £152,618 — but 
these figures represented only the work of six months. 
Five years later the bank's liability to the public 
exceeded half-a-million pounds sterling. " Progress " 
was the word of the day, and so, in 1875 we find 
that the bank held in current and deposit accounts 
more than a million pounds. Seven years later the 
total of this most important item stood at £2,143,000. 
By 1886 the initial figure had been changed from 
2 to 8, and in 1889 the directors with pardonable 
pride could note a further alteration — the 3 being 
changed to 4, and the deposits standing at £4,100,194. 
From that time the balance-sheets have invariably 
shown a steady and material increase, until to-day 
the liability of the bank on current and deposit 
accounts alone is represented by the large sum of 
nearly £14,000,000— and the star of the bank is still 


in the ascendant, and, under the same skilful direction 
and management which has characterised its upward 
flight in the past, will continue so for many a 
generation to come — provided only it can steer clear 
of the amalgamating terrors so current just now. 

With such a heavy liability to the public the thought- 
ful person at once asks ** in what position does the 
bank stand to discharge it in cases of need ?" A 
glance at the balance-sheet which we reproduce below 

will show: — 

Current and Deposit accounts ... Jei3,623,000 

Cash in hand and at Bank ... ^61,778,000 

Ditto at Call 971,000 

Ditto Investments 8,872,000 

That is to say, the cash in hand and at the Bank 
of England was equivalent to 13*05 per cent, of the 
liability, the money at call to 7*1, and the invest- 
ments to 28*4: — together 48*5 per cent. — money 
immediately procurable and available. 

In 1881 the bank established an officers* guarantee 
and provident fund, the directors undertaking to pro- 
vide sufficient funds to pay compound interest at 5 
per cent, on the balance of the amounts paid in by 


the members of the staff, who contributed at the rate 
of 5 per cent, on their salaries. In this particular 
various alterations have been made, and the staff now 
enjoy a provident, a pension, a guarantee and a sav- 
ings' bank fund, all of which are flourishing in 
a remarkable degree. 

Before giving the copy of the last balance-sheet, it 
may be of interest to state that the premises, No. 7 
Fenchurch Street, at one time the head office of the 
bank, were previously occupied by Messrs. Hankey & Co., 
and the following story, although not new, will bear 
repetition in this connection : " Late one evening in 
1720, a carriage drove up to the door of Messrs. 
Hankey & Co.'s banking-house in Fenchurch Street. 
A demand to see a partner was responded to, and 
when the visitor had satisfied himself that he was in 
the presence of one of the firm, he handed him 
a packet carefully sealed, with a request that it 
might be placed aside till he called for it. The 
request was singular, but it was granted. A few 
days passed — a few weeks — a few months — but the 
stranger did not make his appearance : and after 
the third year had elapsed, the partners agreed to 
open the mysterious parcel in each other's presence. 
To their surprise it contained £30,000 in bank notes. 


with a letter, which stated that the money was 
obtained in the South Sea Bubble. Directions were 
added as to its investment, and the interest, the letter 
said, was to be devoted to the relief of the poor." 

Statembkt of Accounts op the London & South- Western Bank, 

Balance-Shbbt — 3l8T Decembeb, 1904. 

Br. £ s. d. £ s. d. 

Current and Deposit Accounts 13,165,741 17 10 

Other Liabilities and Credit 
Accounts, including Out- 
standing Advices, Letters of 

Credit, and Circular Notes... 

457,885 12 4 

13,623,627 10 
305 14 


Capital Subscribed :— 

50,000 Shares at JB50.. 


Paid-up :— 40,000 Shares £20 per Share, 
and 10,000 New Shares £17 lOs. per 
Share, making a total of 


Reserve Fund 

(Invested Id Consols 

as per Contra) 


Rebate on Bnis not due 

6,059 14 


Profit and Loss : — 
Balance brought from last 

£ s. d. 
30,102 13 2 

Net profit for the half-year 
ended 31st December, 1903, 
after adding £2,500 to StafE 
Retirement and Benevolent 
Fund 88,451 11 9 

118,554 4 11 

Writing down Reserve Fund 
Local Loans Stock to £ 
percent 3,159 17 11 

115,396 7 
£15.670,389 5 6 


Cr. £ 8. d. £ 8. d. 

Cash in hand and at Bank of 
England 1,778,508 9 6 

Money at Call, and Short 
Notice 971,465 

— 2,749,973 9 6 

Investments : — 

Consols and Securities of, or 
guaranteed by, the British 
Grovemment (of which 
£343,500 is lodged for 
Public Accounts) 1,170,584 18 11 

Reserve Eund : — 

Consols (2 J per cent.) 

£882,352 18s. lOd. @ £85 750,000 

Local Loans (3 per cent.) 

£210,526 6s. 4d. © £95 ... 200,000 

2,120,584 16 11 
Indian Railway Guaran- 
teed, Metropolitan and 
English Corporation, Bank 
of England and British 
Colonial Government Stocks 1,443,971 5 

British Railway Stocks and 

other Securities 307,788 18 

3,872,344 15 4 

Bills discounted : — 

(a) Three Months and under 815,412 12 7 

(6) Exceeding Three Months 106,166 5 5 

921,578 18 

Loans and Advances 7,317,261 8 8 

Liability of Customers for Ac- 
ceptances, as per Contra ... 305 14 3 

Bank Freehold and Leasehold 
Premises, Furniture and 
Fittings 524,637 14 4 

Other Assets, including Out- 
standing Advices, Freehold 
and Leasehold Properties, 
and Stamps 284,287 5 5 

£15,670,389 5 6 



The London & Westminster Bank. 

This was the first joint-stock bank started in London, 
and though its position is one that could well be 
envied by any institution in the United Kingdom, 
there has been nothing particularly exciting in the 
whole of its long history. It was founded on the 
10th March, 1834, with a paid-up capital of £60,000. 
By the original prospectus the capital was fixed at ten 
million pounds, divided into 100,000 shares of £100 
each, " in order that the mercantile and trading 
community, and the public in general, may, by this 
extensive distribution of shares, acquire an interest 
in the prosperity of the establishment and partici- 
pate in its advantages." It appears that, in spite of 
this inducement, the shares went off slowly. The 
venture was on quite new lines, and the result — 
failure or success — was entirely problematical. When 
the business was started under the management of 


Mr. James Wm. Gilbart, at 88 Throgmorton Street, 
there were but 10,000 shares taken up. This, how- 
ever, did not discourage the founders; they had 
started a business which they intended should "pay," 
and they were determined to make it do so. They 
had not long to wait. The same year (1834) a bill 
was brought into Parliament to authorise the Lon- 
don & Westminster Bank to sue, and be- sued, in 
the names of their public officers, in the same way 
as those banks whose offices were more than sixty- 
five miles from London. Though this bill passed 
through the Commons it was rejected by the Lords, 
and consequently the bank adopted the plan of suing 
or being sued by trustees. 

But although the bank had surmounted one diffi- 
culty others presented themselves, as is always the 
case with pioneers. The institution had a very up-hill 
battle to fight against the prejudices of the old estab- 
lished private bankers, who till then had enjoyed 
a monopoly of the banking business of the metropolis, 
but, worst of all, there was the envenomed jealousy 
of the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, It was not 
long before she showed her teeth. Being probably 
ill at ease with a new rival, who promised to be 


a very formidable one, she, in the early part of 
1885, commenced proceedings to prevent the Lon- 
don & Westminster from accepting bills drawn at less 
than six months after date. Two years later the 
Master of the Rolls granted the necessary injunction, 
but the efifect of this judicial mandate was speedily 
neutralized, and the Bank of England thwarted, by 
the action of the country bankers, who immediately 
commenced drawing on the London & Westminster 
without acceptance. 

On the same day that the bank commenced opera- 
tions in the city a branch was opened in Waterloo 
Place, Pall Mall, as the Westminster branch, and 
this was removed subsequently to St. James's Square. 
In January, 1836, branches were opened at 213 Hol- 
born and 87 Whitechapel, and in February, at Wel- 
lington Street, Southwark. In June of the same year 
the directors decided to open a branch establishment 
in Oxford Street, to subsequently remove it to Strat- 
ford Place as their Marylebone branch. Thus it will 
be seen that the idea of the board was to cater for 
London generally, and it was speedily recognised by 
the then leading bankers that they must look carefully 
to their laurels; the old jog-trot days had passed 


away, and a new era had commenced. Very quickly 
the bank became remarkably popular, and then atten- 
tion was directed to other districts where accommo- 
dation was inadequate, or entirely absent. But it 
was not until 1855 that any decided move was 
made. In that year the well-known firm of Strachan, 
Paul & Bates failed, and this opportunity was seized 
by the London & Westminster to open their Temple 
Bar branch. It was in 1863 that the London & Mid- 
dlesex bank stopped payment, and the directors, always 
on the alert for strengthening their business, founded 
the Lambeth branch. When Jones, Loyd & Co., an 
old established firm of private bankers, and neigh- 
bours of the London & Westminster, suspended pay- 
ment in 1863, the latter bought their business and 
their premises. In 1881, a branch was opened in 
Brompton Square, South Kensington; in 1884, in 
Victoria Street, Westminster; in 1886, in Westbourne 
Grove, Bayswater, and one at Islington ; in 1887, 
the Holborn Circus branch was started, and the 
Tottenham Court Road branch was opened. In 1890 
the bank was represented at Hampstead and Oxford 
Street, while in the following year business was com- 
menced in High Street, Kensington. 


Since then when favourable opportunities arose the 
board have carefully and wisely opened branch estab- 
lishments in all parts of the metropolis and the suburbs, 
and is now represented in the following districts : — 

Balham Hill. 




Bow Eoad. 




Eastern (Whitechapel). 



Heme Hill. 

Holborn Circus. 






Marylebone (Stratford Place) 

Marylebone (West). 

Mincing Lane. 


Old Street. 

Oxford Street. 

St. Mary Axe. 

St. Paul's. 

Shepherd's Bush. 

South Kensington. 


Streatham Hill. 

Temple Bar. 

Tottenham Court Road. 

Victoria Street, S.W. 

Wood Street, E.C. 

With an establishment that has had a continued 

career of progress for a large number of years it is 

always of interest to look back on the history of its 

early days. In the first report issued, in 1884, by 


the London & Westminster the following paragraphs 
occur : — 

"The opposition of the private hankers was mani- 
fested at an early period by their refusal to permit 
any clerk to attend at the Clearing House on behalf 
of this bank. The Clearing House has been in exis- 
tence for upwards of sixty years, and although founded 
m the first instance for the accommodation of such 
London bankers as chose to avail themselves of it, 
yet it has become entwined with the mode of settling 
accounts in several branches of business, and is, for 
all practical purposes, a public institution. The 
opposition of the Bank of England began by their 
refusal to grant to this company the common con- 
venience of a drawing account, a convenience granted 
as a matter of course to every respectable firm who 
may choose to apply for it. 

* * * -x- * * * 

**The directors congratulate the proprietors that, 
notwithstanding all this opposition, they have not 
only been able to stem the torrent which, it must 
be evident, arose from private and not public con- 
siderations, but they have seen from the progressive 
advancement of business, that [ they occupy a more 


favourable position in public opinion ; and whether 
the ordinary power to sue and be sued be granted 
or not, whether the courtesies and facilities usual 
amongst all competitors be reciprocated or not, they 
entertain no doubt of the prosperity of this establish- 
ment, founded, as it is, upon liberal and broad 
principles, and upon a broad basis of security." 

Thus the directors in 1834. How amply their 
anticipations have been realised the continued pros- 
perity of the bank amply proves. We are quite sure 
that could the founders of the institution glance at 
the last balance-sheet they would be absolutely 
astounded at the figures there given. Little did 
Mr. J. W. Gilbart dream that he was laying the 
foundation of so mighty a financial system when he 
first advocated the opening of a joint-stock bank in 
London. He had grasped a great principle which has 
enormously developed, viz., that the aggregate of 
a number of small balances may be equivalent to 
a few large ones. The joint-stock system of banking 
enables the poor as well as the rich man to " keep 
his banker," and it is only necessary to look at the 
amounts of the cheques which daily pass through the 
House to thoroughly realise this. 

or Twt 


And now let us look at the first balance-sheet of 
the London & Westminster. 

A Statement of the Affairs of the Bank, 
31st December, 1834. 
Dr. £ 8. d. 

Due to the public in Lodgments, and Interest 

on Deposit Accounts 180,380 9 10 

Due to proprietors for Paid-up Capital ... 182,255 
Balance in favour of Bank 3,540 6 6 

£366,175 16 4 

Cr. £ s. d. 

Due to the Bank on account of Investment 
in Government Securities, Bills Discounted, 
&c„ and Cash in hand 355,540 3 6 

Preliminary Expenses 10,635 12 10 

£366,175 16 4 

It will be seen that despite the difficulties to be 
encountered, the bank did very well during its first 
year of existence. The figures shown in the balance- 
sheet of to-day — seventy years later — show a striking 
contrast, the assets totalling more than thirty-two 
million pounds as compared with three hundred and 
sixty-six thousand pounds in 1884 ; while the amount 
"due to proprietors" for paid-up capital has increased 
from £182,255 to £2,800,000, with, in addition, a 
reserve fund of £1,400,000. 


Similarly the profit and loss accounts are equally 
interesting. Thus for 1884 this appeared : — 

Dr. £ 8. d. 

Total Current Expenditure from 10th March to 

3l8t December 4,377 4 2 

Interest due to the public on Deposit Eeceipts 521 1 8 

Balance in favour of the Bank 3,540 6 6 

ig8,438 12 4 

Cr. £ s. d. 

Balance of Interest Account 8,438 12 4 

That for 1904, June to December only, is some- 
what different 1 

Dr. £ 8. d. 

To Total Expenditure of the thirty-six Estab- 
ments, including Rent, Taxes, Salaries, 
Pension Fund, Life Insurance, Station- 
ery, &c 141,122 19 10 

,, Payment of the Dividend now declared, 
at the rate of 6^ per Cent, for the half- 
year on the Paid-up Capital, £2,800,000 182,000 

,, Balance of undivided Profit carried to 

next Account 18,714 15 11 

£341,837 1^ 

Cr. £ 8, d. 

By Balance of undivided Profit, 31st Decem- 
ber, 1902 13,944 18 3 

,, Gross Profits of the last half-year, after 
appropriating £3,000 towards the Build- 
ings of the Bank, paying the Income-tax, 
and making provision for all bad and 
doubtful Debts 327,892 17 6 

£341,837 15 9 


One of the principles on which the bank has been 
conducted throughout has been to hold in cash and 
immediately convertible securities a large proportion 
of the amount of the liability to the public, and 
this may be one of the reasons, if not the reason, 
of its great success. Thus from the last balance- 
sheet we see that the current and deposit accounts 
stood at £27,155,212, and against this large total the 
bank held 

Cash in hand and at Bank of 

England £4,322,262 

Money at Call and Short Notice 6,254,350 

Government and other Securities 4,737,000 

Together... .. £15,813,612 

The paid-up capital, which was £182,255 in 1834, 
was £597,255 in 1836, and had reached £800,000 in 
1842. In 1849 it stood at £1,000,000, at which 
jBgure it remained until 1866, when new shares were 
issued, which, by 1869, had brought the paid-up 
capital to £2,000,000. Further shares were issued in 
1880, and when these were paid the capital stood at 
the substantial figure of £2,800,000, at which it has 
since remained. 


The reserve fund, which was j61,205 in 1884, was 
steadily increased year by year until in 1867 it stood 
at £500,000. Next year, by the addition of £600,000 
premium on the issue of new shares, it was raised 
to £1,000,000, and now, by various additions, it has 
been raised to £1,400,000. 

It would be difficult to find in London an office 
where the staff work more harmoniously together. 
The present building in Lothbury, which has fre- 
quently been enlarged and altered, is a veritable hive 
of industry. The business of the bank was trans- 
ferred from 38 Throgmorton Street to these premises 
on 26th December, 1888. 



The London, City & Midland Bank. 

Tms important financial institution, like Lloyds, has 
a most interesting history, and has enjoyed a career 
of steady and unimpeded progress. It holds one of 
the highest positions in the whole of the banking 
world, and is well-known and highly thought of in 
every portion of the civilized world. Together with 
Parr*s and Lloyds it is responsible for the absorption 
of a large number of private joint- stock banks. 

The bank was established in Birmingham in August, 
1886, incorporated in 1873, and registered as the Bir- 
mingham & Midland Bank, Limited, in 1880. The first 
office was in Union Street, Birmingham, but such was 
the success which attended it, and so rapidly did the 
business flow in, that it was soon found that the 
accommodation there was quite incommensurate with 
the requirements. Accordingly the directors acquired 
a site in New Street, on which they erected one of 
the most palatial banking premises to be found in the 


United Kingdom, This building was opened for busi- 
ness in 1869, and even to-day, with all the improve- 
ments which have been effected in the capital of the 
Black Country, it still remains one of the finest and 
most substantial. 

The Birmingham & Midland Bank started business 
in one office only, unlike some others to which we 
have already referred which opened a head office and 
branch offices at one and the same time. No branch 
was opened till 1851, when the business of 
Bate & Bobbins, an old firm of private bankers at 
Stourbridge, was absorbed. Shortly afterwards, the pri-* 
vate firm of Nicholls, Baker & Crane, of Bewdley, was 
acquired, this being a house nearly a century old with 
a splendid connection. In 1875 a branch was opened 
at Wednesbury, and seven years later one at Moseley 
Eoad, Birmingham. This was really the commence- 
ment of a system which the present bank has ever 
since assiduously and persistently followed — the opening 
of branches in all directions in every part of the 
country. This institution, perhaps more than any 
other, has recognised the vast importance of catering 
for the public convenience, that the small man has aa 
much right to expect banking facilities as the big 
* I 


merchant or financier. Consequently, it has opened 
up branches in almost every part of England and 
Wales, not even overlooking the Channel Islands. 
Given the necessity for a branch bank, or the prob- 
ability of one opened in any district paying and the 
authorities of the London City & Midland Bank 
immediately make the necessary arrangements. 

The first general manager was Mr. Charles Geach, 
at one time M.P. for Coventry. He having been 
offered a seat on the board, retired in 1847 in favour 
of Mr. Henry Edmunds, who also was made a director. 
His successor was Mr. Goode, who retired on a pension 
after forty-two years' service. Next came Mr. G. F. 
Bolding, who in 1887 retired, and was succeeded by 
Mr. J. A. Christie, who in 1871 had entered the bank 
as secretary. Mr. E. H. Holden, one of the best- 
known gentleman in the banking world, entered the 
service of the Birmingham & Midland in 1881, and 
six years later was appointed assistant manager. In 
1891 he was appointed joint general manager with Mr, 
Christie. It was under the regime of these two gentle- 
men that the bank forged its way ahead so rapidly. 
Its progress was phenomenal. From a comparatively 
small institution it has grown to be the third largest 


bank in the country. Mr. Holden was, and is, inde- 
fatigable and untiring in his efforts. All his interests 
and engeries are centred round the institution, which 
he must almost regard as a foster child. 

Some idea of the enormous growth of this bank can 
be gathered from a glance at the following figures: — 

1836. 1904. 

Capital paid-up... £260,000 £3,000,000. 

The first published balance-sheet was for the year 

1879. Let us look at two or three of the main items 

there recorded, and compare them with those for 1904. 

1879. 1904. 

Capital paid-up ... £800,000 £3,000,000 

Reserve Fund ... 210,000 8,000,000 

Deposits 2,750,000 47,672,000 

That is to say, in some twenty-five years alone the 

liability of the bank to the public has increased by 

nearly seventeen hundred per cent. But it must be 

remembered that as the liability to the public has 

increased so have the means to meet that liability. 

There are few, if any of the clearing banks that 

can show a higher proportion of assets to deposits. 

This will be seen by the balance-sheet we give below. 

Of course everyone knows that the major 'portion of 

this tremendous fiugmentation is due in the main to 


amalgamations and absorptions, and in this depart- 
ment of banking work the Midland, under the general- 
ship of Mr. Holden, has been exceptionally fortunate. 
Every eligible bank, in any way obtainable, has been 
swallowed up. In 1883 the Union Bank of Birming- 
ham, Limited, was taken over, and soon afterwards the 
Coventry Union Bank, the Leamington, Priors & War- 
wickshire Banking Company, and the Derby Com- 
mercial Bank, thus strengthening the position of the 
bank in the Midlands. Then an important move was 
made, by the absorption in 1890 of the Leeds & County 
Bank, and the Exchange & Discount Bank of Leeds. 
This established the Midland firmly in Yorkshire, as 
both these institutions were doing a large business 
and each had several branches. 

All this time, however, Mr. Holden had been keeping 
his eagle eye on the metropolis — the Midland must not 
rest till it had a London office, a London connection, 
and a seat in the London Bankers' Clearing House. 
Each of these ends were attained the following year 
when it was announced that terms of amalgamation 
had been arranged with the Central Bank of London, 
Limited. This sound little institution was established 
in 1863, and at the time of the absorption had ten 


branches, all radiating from the head office in Corn- 
hill. But what was far more important it had the 
great privilege of a seat in *< the House." The head 
office was then transferred from New Street, Birming- 
ham, to Gornhill, London, the title of the bank was 
altered to the London & Midland Bank, Limited, and 
Mr. E. H. Holden was made joint general manager 
with Mr. J. A. Christie. Unquestionably this was the 
most important step the bank had taken up to that 
time. It was, however, only the prelude of what was 
to follow. The next ten years saw the Midland spread- 
ing like an octopus all over the kingdom. Within 
about a month after the absorption of the Central it 
was officially announced the business of the very old 
private bank of Messrs. Lacy, Hartland & Co., of 
Bermondsey and West Smithfield, had been purchased. 
Thus two more were added to the number of its 
London branches. 

Then attention was given to the County Palatine, 
where the bank was not represented at all. The 
following year the opportunity presented itself, and the 
Manchester Joint- Stock Bank, Limited, with twelve 
branches in and around the city, was acquired. 


In 1898 the Bank of Westmoreland, with branches 
at Kendal, Ambleside, Kirkby- Stephen, Sedbergh and 
Bowness was secured. From 1895 to 1897 the follow- 
ing banks were taken over : the Preston Banking 
Company, Limited, the Carlisle City & District Bank, 
Limited, the Channel Islands Bank, Limited, Hudders- 
field Banking Company, Limited, North-Western Bank, 
Limited, Oldham Joint- Stock Bank, Limited. 

During this period numerous branches and sub- 
branches were opened, especially in the north and 
south of England, and in "Wales — the bank having for 
many years been very strong in the principality. 

In 1898 another grand coup was made, the financial 
world being startled at reading one morning an an- 
nouncement that terms of amalgamation had been 
arranged with the City Bank, Limited, an institution 
which had a large and important city and foreign 
connection, and numerous branch offices in London. 
Then it was that the title of the bank was altered 
to the London, City & Midland Bank, Limited. 
Then, too, Mr. E. H. Holden was appointed managing 
director, and Mr. J. M. Madders, Mr. S. B. Murray 
and Mr. D. G. H. Pollock joint general managers. 


The head office was transferred at the same time from 
Cornhill to Threadneedle Street. 

Since then the Sheffield Banking Company, Limited, 
has been taken over. 

With the constant increase of business, and with the 
many purchases, amalgamations, and absorptions the 
capital of the bank has been repeatedly increased, but 
it has been the invariable rule of the directors that 
on each fresh issue of capital there should be a pro- 
portionate increase of the reserve fund until, as we 
have already mentioned, they now each stand at 

The following is the report and statement of accounts 
submitted at the annual meeting, held in London in 
February last : — 

•' The directors have to report that the net profits 
for the half-year ending 31st December, 1904, after 
payment of all expenses and making provision for all 
bad and doubtful debts, amount to £291,896 2s. 7d., 
to which has been added the balance of £107,821 14s. 2d. 
brought forward from last account, making together a 
total sum of £399,717 16s. 9d., which the directors 
recommend shall be appropriated as follows j — 


"Dividends at the rate of 18 per 
cent, per annum for the half-year 
ending 81st December, 1904, free 
of Income Tax, payable 1st Feb- 
ruary next 

*' Bank Premises Eedemption Fund.,. 

" Balance to be carried forward to 
next account 

"It is with deep regret the Directors have to 
record the death of their esteemed colleague Sir 
Joseph Crosland. 

"A Branch of the Bank will shortly be opened at 
Putney, S.W." 


109,717 16 


£899,717 16 


Balancb'Shebt, 3l8T December, 1904. 
Or. Liabilities. 


To Capital Paid up, viz.: £12 10s. per Share on 

240,000 Shares of £60 each 3,000,000 

,, Reserve Fund .. ., 3,000,000 

„^Dividends payable on 1st February, 1905 .. 270,000 

,, Balance of Profit and Loss Account, as below 109,717 16 9 

6,379,717 16 9 

,, Current, Deposit and other Accounts 47,672,355 12 9 

,, Acceptance on account of Customers 2,153,29010 6 



Dr. Assett. 

By Cash in hand and at Bank of 

England £9,140,499 16 10 

„ Money at Call and at Short 

Notice 7,099,988 16 5 

16,240,488 13 3 

Intestments : 

Consols and other British 
Government Securities ..£3,556,007 7 10 
(of which £372,000 Consols 
is lodged for Public Accounts) 

Stocks Guaranteed by the 
British Government, Indian 
Stocks, Indian Railway 
Guaranteed Stocks and De- 
bentures 1,006,7§1 15 

British Railway Debenture 
and Preference Stocks, 
British Corporation Stocks 1,977,591 6 7 

Colonial and Foreign Govern- 
ment Stocks and Bonds ... 465,812 12 1 

Sundry Investments ... 450,135 2 2 

7,455,328 3 8 

„ Bills of Exchange 4,324,889 14 3 

,, Advances on Current Accounts, Loans on 
Security and other Accounts 

,, Liabilities of Customers for Acceptance, as 
per contra 

y, Bank Premises, at Head Of&ce and Branches 

By the above figures it can be seen that at the 
close of 1904 the London, City & Midland Bank held 
no less than 49*6 of their liability to the public in 
liquid assets, thus : cash in hand, 19' 1 ; cash at 
call and notice, 14*9; investments, 15*6. 

28,020,706 11 


24,749,807 1 


2,153,290 10 


1,281,559 16 




The City Bank. 
A word or two about the City Bank. The charter 
of its incorporation was dated 20th July, 1855, and the 
bank commenced business in August of the same year. 
The paid-up capital was originally £150,000. This was 
increased from time to time, until at the date of the 
amalgamation it stood at £1,000,000. By the end of 
1865 a reserve fund of £140,000 had been built up, 
but at the half-yearly meeting in July of the following 
year the chairman had the unpleasant task of inform- 
ing the shareholders that bad debts were depending 
not in a state to be then definitely adjusted, but that 
£19,961 16s. 2d. had been written off the profits to 
meet them. The report for the December half of that 
year contained the following significant sentences : — 

"Under the protracted depreciation of mercantile 
securities these debts have proved more serious than 
was at that time anticipated, and in order to entirely 
extinguish the loss the directors very much regret that 
it has been found necessary to trench materially on 
the reserve fund — a fund the primary object of which, 
under the deed of settlement, is to meet exigencies 
Buch as the present. The directors, however, feel con- 
fident, from the improved character and steady ex- 


tension of this business, the surplus profits of the bank 
will enable them shortly to restore the reserve fund 
to its former amount." 

On that occasion the reserve was depleted to the 
extent of ^682, 060 12s. 4d. The directors confidence 
was, however, well founded, since, by 1871, constant 
increments had once again brought this item up to 
;£100,000 ; but the next year, " in consequence of 
recent failures," £85,000 had to be withdrawn to meet 
losses on bills. It must have been very gratifying to 
the board to report, at the close of 1875, that 
''£11,445 6s. had been recovered to that date from 
accounts previously provided for." This enabled them 
to vote £15,000 to be re-transferred to the reserve, 
and showed the wisdom of the policy under which 
the bank was directed. From that year until 1888, 
the reserve fund was steadily augumented, sometimes 
out of profits, sometimes by the issue of new shares, 
and the report for December, 1888, stated that 
"£20,000 from profits and £100,000 premium on 
20,000 new shares issued," being transferred to reserve, 
brought it up to £500,000, at which figure it stood 
at the time of the amalgamation in 1898. 



The London Joint- Stock Bank, Limited. 

This bank was one of the first to follow the example 
set by the London & Westminster, the pioneers of 
all joint- stock banking in the metropolis. The original 
announcement of its existence contained the follow- 
ing statement as to the reason for its establishment, 
*' for the purpose of enabling the inhabitants of the 
metropolitan districts to participate more extensively 
than they can at present in the advantages ajfforded 
by the new system of banking, by means of joint- 
stock establishments (the principles of which are 
proved to be in every respect as applicable to the 
metropolis as they are to provincial towns, where 
private banking establishments are rapidly grow- 
ing into joint- stock banks) it has been resolved after 
deliberate consideration to form a joint-stock banking 
company, to be called * The London Joint- Stock Bank,' 
with a capital of ^63,000,000 divided into 60,000 shares 
of £50 each." Such was the original statement placed 
before the public, and it was well subscribed for, the 


public having begun to appreciate the benefit of 
Mr. J. S. Gilbart's creation, the London & West- 
minster Bank. Temporary offices were taken at 
29 Coleman Street, and the business commenced, 
some customers opening current, others deposit accounts. 
The company held out the inducement that £2 per 
cent, would be paid on current and £2J per cent, 
on deposit accounts. 

It will doubtless be of interest to glance at the 
first statement published by the Joint- Stock after its 
first year of work, and compare it with the last 
published one : — 

Liabilities and Assets, 20th ^Noybmbbr, 1837. 

Dr. £ 8. d 

To Capital Paid-up, being £7 per share upon 

31,080 shares 217,560 

„ Amount due by the Bank, including money 
taken upon Security and their Acceptances at 
not less than six months' date 594,101 17 

,, Balance carried to Credit of Profit and Loss 

Account 19,553 3 8 

£831,215 1 

Cr. £ 8. d 

By Exchequer Billi 206,300 12 6 

„ India Bonds 10,202 15 

,, Bills Discounted, Loans to Customers, and 

Cash in Bank 590,521 19 9 

,, Banking and Preliminary Expenses, a pro- 
portion of which will be annually written o£E 24,189 13 9 

£831.215 1 


Such were the figures in 1837. Sixty-seven years 

afterwards, namely at the close of 1894, they were 

as follows : — 

31 8T December, 1904. 

Liabilities. £ 8. d. 

To Capital Paid up, viz., 120,000 Shares at 

£15 per Share 1,800,000 

„ Amount of the Guarantee Fund 1,140,000 

,, Amount due by the Bank on Current Ac- 
counts, Deposit Receipts, Circular Notes, &c. 16,351,268 12 

,, Acceptances 1,199,155 2 3 

,, Rebate of Interest on Bills Discounted, 

not yet due, carried to New Account... 19,255 12 6 

, , Amount of Net Profit for the half-year ended 
3l8t December, including £22,746 9s. 2d. 
balance of Profit and Loss Account, 
30th June, 1904 £124,012 2 10 

Less transferred to Super- 
annuation Allowance 
Account 5,600 


By Government Stock, viz., £1,500,000 Consols 
taken at 85 

,, Other British Government Securities 

,, Indian, Colonial Government, and other 

,, To Securities lodged with Public Bodies 

,, Cash in Hand and at the Bank of England 

,, Money at Call and at Short Notice 

,, Bills Discounted, Loans and other Securities 

,, Liabilities of Customers for Acceptances as 
per contra 

,, Freehold and Leasehold Premises 

119,012 2 


£20,628,691 9 


£ s. 


1,114,873 15 

1,189,584 15 
16,987 10 
2,342,934 13 
8,480,635 1 




1,199,155 2 
433,768 11 



£20,628,691 9 



So far as the capital is concerned, a second issue 
was made in 1840, by which the amount paid up 
was increased to ^6445, 1 20. The following year 
14,466 further shares were issued, and in 1865, by 
a further issue the paid-up capital was raised to 
del, 080,000. By 1868 it had been increased to 
del, 200,000, and in 1884 it was further augmented 
by £600,000, thus bringing that important item to 
its present amount — £1,800,000. 

Similarly the reserve, or guarantee fund, which was 
founded in 1837 by the appropriation of the surplus 
profits— £2,932. Until the year 1842 it was steadily 
added to from the current profits, and then stood at 
£93,214. The next year to equalise the dividend it 
was slightly decreased. The dimunition was only 
temporary, for the next half-year and onwards, till 
1860, amounts were regularly allocated to the guaran- 
tee fund, which at the end of 1859 reached the 
substantial sum of rather more than £200,000. In 
1860, although the usual dividend was paid, a sum 
of no less than £60,000 had to be taken from the 
profits and set aside "to cover the losses incurred 
by the failure of Messrs. Streatfield & Co., and other 
houses connected with 'the leather trade." From that 


date the only alteration made in this account have 
been by regular periodical additions. 

The bank had not been established long in Cole- 
man Street before it was found that the volume 
of business coming in demanded larger premises, 
so a site was purchased and a building erected in 
Princes Street, Mansion House. The report for June, 
1872, stated that the directors had succeeded in pur- 
chasing the valuable freehold property known as the 
" Poultry Chapel," adjoining the rear of the bank pre- 
mises in Princes Street. '' This most desirable acquisi- 
tion," continued the report, " will be immediately made 
available to meet the constantly increasing require- 
ments for carrying on the business of the bank; and 
the directors beg to congratulate the proprietors on 
that object having been secured at an outlay so com- 
paratively moderate, considering the ulterior advantage 
that will accrue to the bank from the purchase." 

Although on a comparatively small scale, the London 
Joint- Stock Bank have taken over other similar insti- 
tutions. In 1870 the Alliance Bank, in Southwark, 
was absorbed, and the same year the business of the 
Albion Bank, in Southwark, was purchased. By far 
the most important amalgamation the Joint have ever 


effected was in 1893, when an announcement was pub- 
blished that the Imperial Bank, of Lothbury, one of 
the most important banking institutions in London, 
had been procured. The Imperial was a bank with 
a very extensive connection, especially amongst mem- 
bers of the London Stock Exchange — in fact, so 
great was the business done on settling days that the 
Imperial and the Alliance were commonly called the 
*• brokers' banks." The purchase added some ^63,000,000 
to the deposits of the Joint- Stock Bank, and at the 
same time afforded it a considerable number of estab- 
lished branches in and about London. What, perhaps, 
was of almost equal importance, it gave the Joint an 
outlet for its surplus funds, in the same manner as the 
City Bank, another institution extensively patronised 
by stockbrokers, did to the London, City & Midland. 
In 1840 the Joint opened a branch in Henrietta 
Street, Covent Garden, but this very soon after was 
closed, and the business transferred to the premises 
previously occupied by Messrs. Hammersley in Pall 
Mall. In 186G and 1868 branches were started in 
Chancery Lane and Smithfield respectively. The Pad- 
dington branch was opened in 1872, and one in 
Great Tower Street, E.G., in 1888. Eight years 


later the bank went a little further afield, opening 
branches in Camberwell and Eotherhithe; and in 
1892 in South Kensington. The Eotherhithe branch 
was discontinued in 1893. Since this date the 
management have given more attention to the impor- 
tance of, firstly, the feeding of their own institution 
in Princes Street, and, secondly, of offering increased 
facilities to the public. Hence many other offices 
have been established, and judging from the last 
reports, the bank appears to be benefitting by its 
forward policy. 

The bank was registered as an unlimited company 
in 1873, and in 1882 as limited. 

There is one point to which we would call atten- 
tion, which may be of interest. With most banks 
the custom obtains of issuing rather lengthy reports 
to their shareholders, and even in the early days the 
idea seemed to be that the longer the report could 
be spun out the better. It might be as well for 
some of our bank officials of to-day to take a leaf 
out of the record book of the London Joint-Stock 
Bank. The report for the half-year, 30th June, 1851, 
ran : — 


" The accounts which the directors have in 
the course of their duty to submit to the share- 
holders, show that the net profits of the bank 
during the six months completed on the 80th 
ult. amount to £29,841 15s. 7d. [The pay- 
ment of the dividend at the rate of £6 per 
cent, per annum, clear of income-tax, will 
leave the sum of £9,841 15s. 7d. to the credit 
of the profit and loss account of the next 
half-year. The dividend will be payable on 
and after Friday, the 25th inst." 

That was all — brief, succinct, business-like: what 
more is needed? The short epitome contains all the 
information appreciated by the shareholders. 

The bank has still plenty of scope for extension 
both in the suburbs and the provinces, and we do 
not doubt that under the present very competent 
direction and management all suitable opportunities 
for new branch business will be carefully considered. 



Martin & Company, Limited. 

There is a great question whether the old firm of 
Martin & Co. was established before or after the 
well-known houses of Coutts & Co. and Child & Co. 
Each has its budget of dates ; each has its treasured 
and interesting episodes and anecdotes ; each can afford 
to take a supercilious glance at those joint-stock banks 
which sprang into existence at a time when these old 
private banks were hoary with age. There is the tale 
of its origin anent the grasshopper, but unquestionably 
that is all a myth— it is a pretty romance, and that 
is all. Mr. Granville Leveson-Gower, of Titsey, in 
his genealogy of the family of the Greshams remarks 
** that the legend has been localized, and that an old 
dame in his village inquired of him whether he knew 
the origin of the Greshams, and then proceeded to 
relate the story, placing the scene of the occurrence 
at New Hall, in the adjoining parish of Limpsfield. 
The absurdity of this legend is obvious in view of 
the fact that the Greshams were a well-known Norfolk 


family, taking their name possibly from a parish of 
the name Gresham, i.e., Grassham." 

It may here be remarked that grasshein is a Ger- 
man word for grasshopper. 

Sir Richard Gresham was by trade a mercer, but 
in 1589, when Anne of Cleves came over to be the 
bride of King Henry VIII., a payment is recorded 
in the book of the bank as follows : '* To Sir Richard 
Gresham for a cheyne of fyne golde which was geven 
to a gent that came from the Duke of Baoyer, 
£100 18s. 9d." Evidently from this statement Gres- 
ham must have then been a goldsmith in business. 

Again, taking our notes from the most interesting 
book of Mr. J. B. Martin, we find that Gresham 
"particularly wished to erect a bourse of exchange 
in Lombard Street, and submitted a design of it in 
1537 to Cromwell (then the Lord Privy Seal), but 
delay followed delay, and there was a lapse of some 
thirty years before his son. Sir Thomas Gresham, 
carried the idea out to its completion." 

Sir Thomas Gresham, who was born in 1619, 
was, according to Mr. Martin, apart from being a 
mercer " before all else a financier," and it is prob- 
able that he was looked on in some degree askance 


by his brothers of the mercer's craft, since he is 
recorded on two occasions, 1559 and 1560, to have 
advised the "raising of the wind" to pay his Majesty's 
debts by laying an embargo on the fleets about to 
sail to and from Antwerp respectively, until the 
skippers had agreed to pay to the Queen's credi- 
tors in Antwerp considerable sums at the rate of 
exchange most favourable to the Crown that could 
be extorted from the men, on whom the mine was 
not to be sprung until the goods were safely on 
board. On the first of these ocassions he writes to 
Cecil recommending him to send for the Lord Mayor 
(Sir Thomas Leigh, 1558-9) and eleven other princi- 
pal merchants of the city, among whom were ♦* Mr. 
Aldyman Martynne and Lyonell Dockett" — the latter 
ft reputed partner of Gresham's — " and to move unto 
them to the intent that they might flourish in the 
commonwealth, as aforetime they had done, that the 
Queen being not unmindful of the payment of her 
debts in Antwerp, had thought good to use them 
(as heretofore. King Edward, her brother, dyd)." 

"And for the accomplishment of the premises, the 
Queen's Majestic dowthe requyre at your handes to 
paye in Flanders xxs. sterling upon every cloth that 


is now shipped, after the rate xxvs. flemysh for the 
pound sterling. . . . Finally, ye maye not come 
lower than to hav for every pound sterling xxiis. 
flemysh (for 20, for so the exchange passeth at this 
present). But I trust y* will be at 22s. 6d. ere 
they hav fynyshed their shipping. Advertising you 
yf the exchange be better in Lombard Street than 
22s. in any wise to make them pay after that 

The name of Martin first appeared among the 
goldsmiths as early as the commencement of the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth. In the year 1558 Eichard 
Martyn, or Martin, was called to the Livery of the 
Goldsmiths' Company. At that time he resided at 
'* The Harpe," in Goldsmiths' Row, Cheapside. There 
is no direct evidence that he enjoyed any controlling 
influence over '* The Grasshopper," but as he used 
the same armorial bearings as the bank have done 
ever since, it seems highly probable that he was 
a partner. 

In the list of "Goldsmiths kepeing running cashes" 
for the year 1677 there is the firm of Messrs. Dun- 
combe & Richard Kent, of '* The Grasshopper," of 
Lombard Street. 


In 1646 the name of Stone first appears, when 
William Stone *' was presented " for selling beer with- 
out a license. 

It is very probable that the bank was burnt down 
in the great fire of 1666, 

Mr. J. B. Martin, in his little work on " The 
Grasshopper," says **it is a tradition that James II. 
kept an account there (at "The Grasshopper") as 
well as at Childs', and that when, after his abdica- 
tion and flight, 1688, he sent to his bankers for his 
balance, the latter, as good bankers, sent it to him, 
while the former, as good Whigs, told him to come 
and fetch it. There is room for another conjecture, 
namely, that his Majesty's account was overdrawn." 

Duncombe became Lord Mayor of London in 1709, 
prior to which date he had entered into partnership 
with Mr. Kichard Smythe, a banker, who subsequently 
introduced into the firm one Andrew Stone who mar- 
ried, later, Mr. Smythe's sister. Whether this con- 
summation was a part of the agreement for partner- 
ship or not, we cannot say. In his will, dated 
11th February, 1711, he is described as a clothmaker. 
He left his share of the business to Thomas Martin 
on payment of £9,000 to his widow, to her mother 


Mrs. Holbrooke, and to Nathaniel Torriame. After 
the death of Andrew Stone Mr. Thomas Martin 
carried on the business alone till 1714, when he 
took into partnership his brother James. About 
1780 or 1731 Thomas Martin retired, and Ebenezer 
Backwell joined the firm. 

It is quite impossible for us to give in detail here 
the various changes that have with the ordinary run 
of events taken place with regard to this house of 
such venerable age. Let us, therefore, now confine 
ourselves to a few facts both of interest and import- 
ance so far as the bank's history is concerned. In 
1766 Eichard Stone the younger married Miss Mary 
Herring, and next year that lady's sister married 
Sir Francis Baring. In 1764 John and Francis 
Baring opened an account at " The Grasshopper," 
and with their constantly increasing foreign and 
colonial connection their accounts grew to very great 
dimensions, and continued exceedingly active until 
the temporary check occurred which necessitated the 
reconstruction of the firm. 

On the death of Eichard Stone in 1802 the vacancy 
was filled by the election in 1806 of James, the 
younger brother of John Martin. Henry Stone, 


a partner who had come on the scenes m 1823, 
died in 1844, and the business was left in the hands 
of the three brothers, John, James, and Robert 
Martin, and George Stone the younger. The latter 
died in 1861, when the family became extinct in the 
main line, and thus after the lapse of 183 years the 
business once more became Martin & Co, Here it 
may be interesting to record that Mr. Robert Martin 
married Anne, the daughter of John Biddulph, of 
the banking i&rm of Cocks, Biddulph & Co., of 
Charing Cross, and their two sons, Richard Biddulph 
Martin and John Biddulph Martin, joined the firm 
at the beginning of 1861 and 1864 respectively. 

In" 1875 the senior partner, John Martin, retired. 
In 1876 his eldest son, Waldyce Alexander Hamilton 
Martin, joined the firm. After the sudden death of 
James Martin in 1878, the business was left for two 
years in the hands of Richard B. Martin and John B. 
Martin and their cousin, W. A. H. Martin, the last 
name retiring in 1880. Then Fredk. H, Norman, 
whose mother was the daughter of Henry Stone, 
came on the scenes, and in 1864 his brother, Edward 
Norman, was admitted. "The firm thus constituted," 
says Mr. J. B. Martin, "re-united the families of 


Martin and Stone in business relations, all the four 
partners having a common ancestry through Richard 
Stone, the second of the name, by his marriage with 
Mary Herring." The father of the two new partners 
was for many years a director of the Bank of 
England, while the eldest son was a partner until 
his death, in 1889, with the firm of Baring Brothers. 

The records of the transactions of the eminent firm 
are complete from 1731. In the books there is an 
entry in 1751 — 

" To Brydges for killing the Buggs in the shop, 
£1 Is." 

Poor Brydges I how little did he think when he 
was calmly and quietly executing his strange com- 
mission in 1751 that, more than 150 years afterwards, 
his action would be commented on, and his curious 
occupation cause an amused smile to flit over the 
faces of the heads of houses, which in his time were 
not even contemplated. 

From 1720 to 1750 the business men of the day 
were in a state of frenzied excitement, making vast 
profits only to rush into tremendous speculations and 


finally to be buried in a hopeless ruin. Gay in his 

letter to Moon (a goldsmith) says : 

When credit sank and commerce gasping lay, 
Thou stoodst, nor sent one bill unpaid away : 
When not a guinea chinked on Martin'' s hoards, 
And Atwell's self was drained of all his hoards. 

"The Grasshopper" was rebuilt in 1794. The 
records of the bank show that it has long been 
a custom of the firm to take into partnership men 
who have served them as clerks. 

We are sure that all our readers will be only too 
pleased to scan the following copy of the balance- 
sheet for the year 1731. 

Drs. to Sever all. 

& ». d. 

In the Ledger 139,995 3 2 

In the Note- Book 19,476 16 9 

£159,471 19 11 

Crs. hy. 

£ s. d. 

Discount Book 83,177 4 11 

Ledger out of Cash 1,724 7 3 

Bailee, in Cash 74,570 7 9 

£159,471 19 11 

"Xmas, 1781. 
"The before-written accounts in Fol. 1, 2, 8 
and 4 containe the perticulers of Debts owing by 


Mr. James Martin & Company on the 24tli Decem- 
ber last, when Mr. Eobert Surman came in a part- 
ner. And in Folio 5 and 6 is an account and 
Valuation of the eJBfects to answer the same in our 

" James Martin. 
'• E. Surman. 
"Jo. Leaver. 
** EicHD. Stone." 

*' Witness, 

** Jno. Martin." 
From the published researches of Mr. J. B. Martin, 
in his entertaining book on '* The Grasshopper," we 
take the following list of some notable customers 
who have honoured the famous old bank with their 
patronage : 

1731. James Jenner. 
Francis WoUaston. 
Nicholas Wollaston 
William Wollaston. 
Thomas Colclough. 

1732. James Buchanan. 
1748. J. Peter Burrell. 

J. Fuller ton. 
1744. Quarles Harris. 

1749. Van Voorst & Boon. 
1748. John Aislabie. 
1761. Gonville and Caius 

Dr. Thomas Heber- 


1763. George Gostling. 

1764. John and Francis 
Baring & Co. 

Capt. Charles Bod- 1770. Charrington, Moss 
dam. & Co. 



Thomas Boddington. 


Peter Aubertin. 

Samuel Brandram. 

Hugh Price. 

Peter Floyer. 


General W.Belford. 


Jane Buchanan. 


Abraham Grimes. 

Eichd. Butler. 

Wm.Dixwell Grimes 

Thomas Boddam. 


Sir Francis Geary, 

Archibald Buchanan. 


Joseph Banks. 

Cuthbert Colling- 

Joseph Chambers. 


John Fullerton. 


Henshaw Eussell. 

Jere. Eayment Ha,ds- 


Nesbitts & Co. 



Gustavus Belford. 

Dr. Willm. Heberden. 

E. & T. Neave. 

Samuel Lloyd. 


Eichard Bruce. 

Eichard Myddelton. 

Oxley & Co. 

Eichard Maitland. 


WilHam Leckmere. 

Thomas Powys. 

Sir John Temple, 

David Papillon. 



Neave & Aislabie. 


Willm. Agnew. 


Admiral Francis Geary 

Samuel Bilke. 


Lazarus Venables 

WilUam Tidd. 


Eichard Neave. 


Assur Keyser. 


Lady Anne Boswell. 



William Lock. 


Hugh Baillie. 


1794. Wm. Upton. 

Thomas Lovellc 
1797. Lord LiHord. 

Thomas Lovett. 

Mathew Marshall. 

Peter Cherry. 


1798. Angerstein & others. 
Glutton & Sons. 
Samuel Wallace. 

1799. Atkinson & Co. 
Lewis Corkran. 
Mary Larkin. 
James Carey. 

1748 there is a record of the account of the 
Hospital for Exposed Children — now, most probably, 
the FoundUng Hospital. In 1789 there appears an 
account in the name of *• Sunday Schools." 



The Metropolitan Bank (of England and Wales) 

This is another of the big banks which came to 
London from the Black Country, and "came to stay," 
although the bulk of its connection is far more with 
the provinces than with the metropolis. As a member 
of the London Bankers' Clearing House it holds a 
position amongst the leading banks in the country. 

It was incorporated on 1st August, 1866, as the 
Birmingham Banking Company, with its head office 
at Bennett's Hill, Birmingham. The authorised capital 
was jei, 500,000, divided into 80,000 shares of £50 
each. Between August, 1866, and June, 1867, there 
were issued 16,684 of these shares. From time to 
time the capital has been increased— thus in 1872 
the authorised capital stood at £2,000,000; in 1880 
at £8,500,000; in 1889, £5,000,000; and in 1892 
at £7,500,000, at which figure it still remains. The 
paid-up capital is now £500,000, while the reserve 
fund amounts to £850,000. 


This bank, like Lloyds and the London, City & Mid- 
land, both of which also hailed from the capital 
of the Midlands, owes much of its rapid progress to 
amalgamations, though of late years these have taken 
place but seldom. In 1880 the Stourbridge & Kid- 
derminster Banking Company was taken over, to 
be followed by the absorption nine years later of the 
Staffordshire Joint- Stock Bank, Limited. These two 
amalgamations greatly enlarged the sphere in which 
the bank had hitherto worked. In 1889 the Bir- 
mingham Banking Company made their biggest coup 
by the absorption of the Koyal Exchange Bank (of 
London). It was a good stroke, for though the Royal 
Exchange Bank had had a very chequered career, and 
changed its name on one, if not two occasions, it had 
a seat in the London Bankers' Clearing House, to attain 
which is the aim and ambition of almost every bank 
in the country. True, the business of the Royal 
Exchange — the old ''Metropolitan" — was but small, 
and the reputation it enjoyed was none of the best. 
Yet the fact remains it had a seat in the Temple of 
Mammon — by some means or other it had been allowed 
to cross the sacred threshold of the House — and hence 
the new mid-country bank could enter London with a 


certain amount of distinction, and at once occupy a 
position which many much larger estabhshments had 
ardently longed for for years. It was a good move 
well worthy of the astute chief then at the helm. 
Then it was that the name was changed to the 
Metropolitan & Birmingham Bank, Limited, and the 
same year the private bank of Cooper, Purton & Com- 
pany was absorbed. 

But by this time the directors of the Metropolitan 
had the fever of amalgamation upon them, and could 
not long remain quiescent. In 1892 the banking world 
was greatly surprised by the announcement that the 
South Wales Union Bank had been taken over with 
all its branches, thus giving the Metropolitan a very 
strong footing in South Wales and a splendid con- 
nection in a very important district. The new ven- 
ture necessitated another change of title, and it was 
announced that in future the bank would be known 
as '' The Metropolitan, Birmingham & South Wales 
Bank, Limited." 

Then followed an important event in the bank's 
history. It was at this time that the directors of 
the National Bank of Wales were coquetting with 
first one and then another of the leading London 


banks. As a point of fact, the National Bank of 
Wales was in the market, and there were undoubt- 
edly several of the London Clearing Banks prepared 
to buy it at a price for the sake of securing its 
extensive connection in Wales. Apparently the first 
favourite among the competitors were the London 
City & Midland — or the London & Midland as it 
then was — and to this institution the agency of the 
Welsh bank was transferred. It was an open secret 
that the transfer meant that an absorption would take 
place a little later on, and that Mr. E. H. Holden 
would be able to add one more to the list of banks 
which the Midland had procured through his instru- 
mentality. This time, however, the wiseacres were 
entirely wrong in their prognostications. When every- 
one felt assured that the amalgamation of the National 
of Wales with the London & Midland was un fail 
accompUj it fell through. It was late on a Saturday 
night, in 1893, that negotiations were broken off 
between the two banks : the folloicing Monday morning 
the money articles of the leading newspapers con- 
tained the announcement that "terms of amalgama- 
tion " had been arranged between the Metropolitan, 
Birmingham & South Wales Bank, Limited, and the 


National Bank of Wales, Limited. That was one of 
Mr. James Leigh's smartest moves. He had secured 
numerous offices in various parts of Wales in which 
his bank had hitherto not been represented, and also 
a very extensive connection. 

There was at the time a considerable amount of 
correspondence in the South Wales Daily Neivs over 
the terms of purchase. By some means the news- 
paper received the information some time before the 
shareholders had their circulars sent to them, but 
though the controversy lasted some while it gradually 
dwindled down and down until the amalgamation had 
become one of the things of the past, and the share- 
holders commenced to wonder what Mr. Leigh would 
put before them next. There was no question what- 
ever that the cost of the National Bank of Wales 
was a great deal more than was anticipated, but it 
redounds to the credit of the management of the 
Metropolitan to say that when it was found that the 
assets taken over fell a long way below the antici- 
pated amount the matter was faced in a business- 
like way, and the large reserve fund and some of 
the surplus profits were utilized year by year, till 
the bank had cleared off all the unexpected losses. 


That this policy was a very wise one has been 
amply proved by subsequent figures. The connection 
had been secured, and after the needed pruning had 
taken place, immediately began to bear fruit: and 
ever since the bank has constantly consolidated its 

The first branch was opened in Walsall in 1874, 
and ever since then the bank has started new 
establishments wherever opportunity served. A keen 
eye has been kept on all neighbourhoods in the pro- 
vinces likely to afford favourable prospects for bank 
development, until to-day — in the Midland and South 
Wales at all events — the Metropolitan has become an 
important factor in the financial world. 

From the very outset the bank bid fair to be a 
success, since at the end of the first year the deposit 
and current accounts amounted to nearly £600,000. 
Four years later the total of this item had doubled. 
In 1880 they were represented by more than 
je2,600,000 ; in 1889 the total had turned £4,000,000 ; 
in 1893, £6,000,000 ; in 1896 it was within an ace of 
£7,000,000 ; and now it is nearly £8,600,000. 

The first manager was Mr. Thomas F. Shaw, who 
retired in 1876, and was succeeded by Mr. P. W. 


Walker, who resigned his position the same year. 
Then Mr. James Leigh took the helm as general 
manager, and it was owing to his remarkably keen 
business insight and his indefatigable exertions that 
the bank made its way by great and rapid strides to 
the position it now enjoys. When Mr. Leigh was 
appointed general manager the bank was a small one, 
comparatively speaking, when he died he left it one 
of '* the clearing banks of London." The present 
general manager is Mr. F. W. Nash. 

It is of quite recent years that it was decided to 
again change the designation of the institution, this 
time to the " Metropolitan Bank (of England and 
Wales), Limited." The alteration was a wise one, but 
we feel that it would be still better if the title were 
even further curtailed, so that the bank could be 
known as " The Metropolitan Bank, Limited." 

The report and balance-sheet for the year ended 
81st December last were as follows : — 

**In presenting the thirty-ninth annual report the 
directors beg leave to state that the net profits for 
the past year, after making ample provision for bad 
and doubtful debts, and allowing for rebate on bills 
current, amount to £85,469 10s. 7d., to which must 


be added the amount brought forward from the 
previous year, i61 1,955 4s. 7d., making a total dis- 
posable sum of ^697,424 15s. 2d., which has been 
appropriated as follows : — 

•* Dividend of 12J per cent, per annum 
for the half-year ended 80th June, 
1904 £31,250 

" Dividend of 15 per cent, per annum 
for the half-year ended 31st Decem- 
ber, payable 1st February next ... 87,500 

" Income Tax paid for Shareholders 8,865 17 9 

**Bank Premises Redemption Fund, 

being ^61,000 and ^61,210 15s. 4d. 

interest on the Fund, transferred 

from the profits of the past year... 2,210 15 4 

" Transferred to Officers' Pension Fund 2,500 
*' Written off Bank Premises Account 5,000 
"Balance carried forward 15,598 2 1 

£97,424 15 2 


3l8T December, 1904. 

Liabilities. £ s. d. 

Due by the Bank on Current, Deposit and other 

Accounts 8,314,267 17 2 

Seven Days and other Drafts 10,894 18 9 

Foreign Bills negotiated as per contra 56,677 8 9 

Bills for Collection as per contra 63,153 11 10 

Rebate on Bills discounted 4,841 11 5 

Proprietors^ Funds. 

Paid-up Capital £500,000 

Guarantee Fund 350,000 

Bank Premises Redemption Fund 41,784 4 10 
Dividend payable 1st February 

next 37,500 

Profit and Loss Account balance 

carried forward 15,598 2 1 

8,449,835 7 11 

Investments, viz.: — 

British and Indian Govern- 
ment Securities 

Colonial Government Securi- 
ties, Railway and Corpora- 
tion Stocks and Debenture 

944,882 6 11 
£9,394,717 14 10 

Assets. £ 8. d. 

Cash in hand and at the Bank of England ... 774,462 11 4 
Cash at Call and at Short Notice 1.502,155 2 5 

Bills of Exchange 




666,373 11 


649,511 19 





4,242,622 7 2 

Due to the Bank on Current and other Accounts, 
after deducting provision for bad and doubt- 
ful debts and contingencies 4,684,324 10 9 

Foreign Bills negotiated as per contra 56,677 8 9 

Bills for Collection as per contra 63,153 1110 

Bank Premises and Furniture at London, Bir- 
mingham, and Branches, less amount written 
off this year 347,939 16 4 

£9,394,717 14 10 



The National Bank. 

This bank was originally the National Bank of Ire- 
land, and was founded as far back as 1885. Identi- 
fied with this institution is the name of the great 
Daniel O'Connell, a full length portrait of whom, by 
Sir David Wilkie, hangs in the board-room of the 
head office in Old Broad Street, London. 

The original intention was to cater for the require- 
ments of people resident in Ireland, and this has 
been ever since constantly followed out, until to-day 
one sees branches not only in almost every large 
town, but in most of the smaller ones and villages 
in the Emerald Isle. Despite the fact that for many 
years the bank has enjoyed a very extensive London 
business, Ireland itself has never been lost sight of 
for a single day. Where there is not a branch there 
is a sub-branch, or an office open for a few days a 
week, or one open on certain days for a few hours 
only. The National Bank is and has long been 
essentially a caterer for **the people" — the little 


tradesman, the small farmer, equally witli the mer- 
chant, the landowner, and the manufacturer. It was 
started on totally different lines to those of any of 
the banks whose history we record in this volume. 
This was the original plan : each branch opened was 
treated in every respect* as though it were a separate 
bank, always, of course, with the proviso, that in 
case of need, the parent office might be called upon 
to lend a helping hand. It was intended in the 
first instance to divide the profits with the local body 
of constituents specially interested in each branch. 

The bank was a success from its start ; and greatly 
gratified must the directors and their chairman have 
been on seeing the rapid growth of the institution 
which they had founded; and which had immediately 
received the stamp of public approval, backed by 
public support. The bank first started business at 
Carrick-on-Suir on 28th January, 1835, and almost 
at once it was found necessary to open branches in 
various directions. On this point the following ex- 
tracts from the first report, dated 25th May, 1836, 
are very interesting. After giving a list of twenty 
offices which had been opened up to that period, 
the report continues : — 


** Several other towns are under consideration, and 
branches will be opened in them in the present year. 
The directors are now engaged upon the formation 
of a metropolitan bank in Dublin, as a branch of 
the National Bank of Ireland, with very extensive 
capital and objects, including a district hitherto 
neglected in banking accommodation, by reason of 
the privileges of the Bank of Ireland Charter, and 
containing a population of 1,500,000 inhabitants ; but 
the plan of the bank and its connection with the 
National Bank of Ireland will be such as not ta 
interfere with any of those privileges, also it will be 
prepared to take advantage of any change made in 

Continuing, the report refers in the following terms 
to the work up to that time accomplished : — 

** The directors cannot close this report without 
adverting to the good effects, in so short a time, 
already visible in Ireland, arising in some degree 
from the extension of their operations, combined with 
the high rate of agricultural prices in the past and 
present years, as compared with the former ones, the 
one enabling the agriculturist to dispose of his pro- 
duce to advantage, and the other to discharge his 


obligations with punctuality. It is hoped that by 
due caution and the prudent development of the 
country, many social evils will be mitigated, and 
the National Bank of Ireland will be fully compen- 
sated for ijjie part it has taken in promoting this 
permanent object, by the strong hold it has been the 
study of the directors to obtain for it in the affection 
of the people." 

Thus said the first report of the directors, with Mr. 
Daniel O'Connell at their head. The forecast was 
sanguine, but events have proved that the case was 
not overstated. There can be no question that the 
bank did rapidly secure *' the affection of the people," 
but, what is still more important, that affection is 
greater now than ever. To use a phrase of the 
day, the National Bank of Ireland '* caught on." 
It was an experiment which turned out eminently 
satisfactory : it was a new departure which speedily 
showed that it was more than justified: it was a 
revolution in the then existing banking world of Ire- 
land, and we can quite understand how it is that 
now, seventy years later, the painting of the founder 
occupies so prominent a position in the board-room at 
the head office in London. 


Before going further with the history of this Irish 
bank let us take a glance at the balance-sheet, show- 
ing the result of the first eleven months trading. 

Balancb-shbbt, 3l8T Decbmber, 1835. 


£ s. d. 

Capital 874,140 12 11 

Circulation 521,745 

Deposits 256,638 12 1 

Proprietors' undivided fund 14,520 15 11 

£1,167.045 11 


£ s. d. 

Investments 155,740 12 6 

Securities 826,638 1 6 

Specie and Cash at Bankers 166,47114 1 

London preliminary expenses, to be liquidated in 

four years . 8,547 3 8 

Branch ditto ditto in five years 9,647 9 2 

£1,167,045 11 

A little further on in this chapter we will give a 
copy of the balance-sheet published for the year ended 
81st December, 1904. 

The first and only amalgamation or absorption ever 
effected by the bank was the London & DubUn Bank 
in 1847, BO that one can regard the great growth of 
its figures as an evidence of steady and natural 


increase of business with no undue and misleading 

The bank opened an ojffice in London in 1854, 
when the title was changed to " the National Bank," 
since when no alteration of the name has been made. 
New shares were issued from time to time, and by 
1865 the paid-up capital stood at £600,000. That 
year a fresh issue of capital was made, and by this 
time BO popular had the bank become that there was 
not the slightest difficulty in having the full amount — 
issued at a heavy premium — more than fully sub- 
scribed for. The result was most gratifying — the paid- 
up capital was increased by £600,000, and so stood 
at £1,200,000. But on the issue the premiums received 
amounted to half-a-million pounds sterling, and, to 
the credit of directors and shareholders be it said, 
that the whole of this large sum was at once placed 
to the credit of the reserve fund. Later, the directors 
took a very popular step : they decided to issue, as a 
bonus, the remaining shares, the necessary sum paid-up 
per share— namely, £300,000 — being withdrawn from the 
reserve fund. The shareholders were greatly pleased, 
and we have no doubt that a large influx of busi- 
ness was the natural consequence. Ably supported by 


their shareholders, and with the full confidence of 
their customers, there is no need to wonder that the 
subsequent progress was rapid, though steady. 

By this distribution the paid-up capital was increased 
to ^1,600,000, at which figure it has since remained. 
It is almost a question whether the action of the 
directors in making this distribution was not prema- 
ture, although, of course, it was an impossibility to 
foretell what was coming. The following year, 1866, 
when the great panic was upon us, when banks were 
closing their doors, merchants failing on all sides, 
financiers coming to a crash, when credit was at its 
lowest ebb, when business was paralyzed; when houses, 
which had weathered the storms of a century, col- 
lapsed like a pack of cards; when hundreds of thou- 
sands of persons were ruined ; when many wealthy 
people were reduced to poverty — that was the time 
when the strength and stability of all the banks were 
tested and their resources tried to the utmost. Like 
all the rest the National felt the stress and strain, 
and it weathered the storm, but for many a long 
day afterwards it felt the effects. The bank made 
heavy losses, amounting to upwards of £500,000 
which amount, heavy though it was, was immedi- 
ately written off the reserve fund. This was the 


first and only serious blow the National had received : 
the directors realized the gravity of the situation 
and acted with promptiude. When the loss was 
made, the then chairman (Sir Joseph Neale M'Kenna) 
and the whole board resigned; the resignations were 
accepted, new blood were introduced, with the result 
that with caution, begotten of experience, the bank 
again resumed its progress, and the bank immedi- 
ately recommenced to build up a reserve, which to-day 
reaches the highly satisfactory and very substantial 
sum of ^6500,000. 

It was five years after its advent in London that 
the National Bank obtained a seat in the Clearing 
House. That institution, established by private bankers 
for private bankers, greatly objected to, and most 
strenuously opposed strangers crossing the sacred 
threshold of their *' Temple." The new f angled, so- 
called, joint-stock banks were of mushroom growth, 
and might at any moment wither and die. But, as 
year by year they not only multiplied but rapidly 
increased in strength and popularity, the private 
bankers were reluctantly forced to the conclusion that 
their rivals meant to compete with them. It was in 
1859 that the National obtained admittance, and the 


directors immediately felt the effect that this made to 
the business. 

The National is the one bank in the House, with 
the exception of Parr's, which has the privilege of 
issuing its own notes. So far as the latter is con- 
cerned the issue is lilliputian, and was only recently 
acquired by the absorption of a small bank in the 
Isle of Man. As regards the National, however, the 
note issue is a most important item. Glancing at a 
list now before us containing the figures — from the 
last published balance-sheets — of 100 banks in England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, we note that with the excep- 
tion of the Bank of Ireland, none other has so large 
a note issue as the National. The circulation of the 
National on the 81st December last was £1,094,986. 
It is, of course, quite understood that the issue is in 
Ireland only. The bank has one of the largest Stock 
Exchange connections in the metropolis. Its situa- 
tion in Old Bond Street lends itself, by reason of its 
close proximity to the exchange, to this class of busi- 
ness, and could the ordinary reader be in the Clearing 
House on a settling day, he would be almost thunder- 
struck by the rain of bundles and drafts thrown on 
the dishes of the National "clearers." Yet the work 


is carried through almost automatically, with no con- 
fusion, no bustle. It is a matter for surprise that so 
vast an amount of work can be got through in so 
very limited a space of time. 

That the bank is well managed and engineered 
there can be no doubt, and it is equally clear that 
its reputation is as high as that of any institution 
in the House. While the word of the day appears 
to be amalgamation the National is quite content to 
pursue the even tenour of its way, increasing its 
figures by increasing its business. Nor have the 
authorities any reason to regret that policy which has 
been so successful in the past and is, under the same 
careful management, sure to be equally successful in 
the future. 


The following is a copy of the balance-sheet for the 
half-year ended 81st December, 1904 : — 

Balance- Sheet, SIst December, 1904. 

Dr. £ s. d. 

To Capital paid-up on 150,000 Shares 1,500,000 

„ Rest or Undivided Profits— Consols at 87i ... 500,000 

,, Notes in Circulation 1,094,986 

„ Amount due by the Bank on Deposits and 

Current Accounts 11.625,302 5 5 

„ Acceptance to Bankers' Drafts and on Security 109,050 

,, Rebate on Bills not due 11,567 

,, Net Profits for the Half-year, including 
£16,333 12s. lOd. brought forward from the 
30th June, 1904 115,406 11 11 

£14,856,311 17 4 

Cr. £ e. d. 

By Cash on hand at Head Offtce, Branches, 

and Bank of England 1,494,48112 6 

„ Money at Call and at Short Notice 1,970,617 12 2 

,, Government Securities — including Rest or 

Undivided Profits 1,532,474 14 9 

,, Corporation, Railway, and other Stocks ... 152,308 8 

,, Advances on Securities at sundry dates, and 

Current Accounts 5,623,069 7 7 

„ Bills discounted 3,661,956 18 10 

,, Bankers' Guarantee and Securities held 

against Acceptances, per Contra ... ... 109,050 

,, Bank Premises — London, Dublin, and 

Branches, Freehold and Leasehold 312,353 3 6 

£14,856,811 17 4 



The National Provincial Bank of England, Limited. 

This bank stands out unique in one particular that 
its formation was in contemplation so far back as 
1830 — but only in contemplation. It was not "till 
three years later that its capital was offered to the 
public, and its reception by the public was exceed- 
ingly gratifying, for in April, when the shares were 
submitted no less than 13,168 were applied for, and 
of this large number the directors allotted 8,340 only. 
From the first report we gather that the Gloucester 
branch was opened on New Year's Day, 1834, 
a branch at Brecon on the 26th March following, 
and at Walsall on 14th April, while arrangements 
were then being made for establishments at Birming- 
ham, Wotton-under-Edge, Boston and Wisbeach. The 
statement of the accounts placed before the pro- 
prietors OQ the 8th May, 1834, showed that the 
paid-up capital then amounted to £101,545. This 
appears almost ludicrous when placed side by side 
with the capital as it stands in the balance-sheet of 


The National Provincial had grasped the great 
principle — the whole essence of joint-stock banking — 
that the aggregate of a number of small balances 
was quite equivalent to that of few large ones. They 
came on the scenes prepared to cater for the people 
— the masses — and like the County and the South- 
Western (of later date) they did so most successfully. 
The idea in the mind of the directors was to cater 
for the provinces, and this they did, and are still 
doing. The name of the National Provincial is 
a household word in most of the leading towns, and 
many of the principal villages, in the south of 
England and the Midlands. But in addition to this 
the name of the bank is not only known, but held 
in high respect, by all colonial and foreign bankers. 
For many a long day the National Provincial stood 
head and shoulders above any other joint-stock bank 
whose figures were available, purely and solely by 
a steady increase of legitimate business. That is to 
say, that their figures have not been inflated by 
amalgamations and absorptions; there has been a 
continuous steady increase of business, the result of 
confidence, the reward of continuous steady endeavour. 
Banks have risen, flourished, and fallen : there have 


been tight corners — there has been Black Friday, 
there has been the Baring crisis, there have been 
the curious and unexpected variations in the Bank of 
England rate, there have been many disturbances in 
the foreign markets — but through one and all the 
National Provincial has stood its ground, and not 
only that, it has come out of the ordeal with flying 
colours. When banks were stopping payment in all 
directions the National Provincial held its own. There 
was no stringency, no tightness of money : the lines 
on which the bank was founded and worked were too 
strong, too secure in every way. The principle had 
been laid down that the bank was to work on joint- 
stock lines, the business was for a class hitherto but 
very inadequately considered. True, there were spring- 
ing up various joint-stock institutions, but the National 
Provincial, may be quite unintentionally, were one of 
the early pioneers. They, with their one or two col- 
leagues, were to teach Londoners what joint -stock 
banking really meant, and were at the same time to 
fall in line of defence against the private bankers who 
looked upon the banking field of London as sacred 
preserves of their own, within which none but the 
specially favoured might enter, and over the threshold 


of whose Clearing House it was profanity to attempt 
to step. 

The second report of the bank states : " The estab- 
lishment in its formation has met with greater diffi- 
culties than any similar institution, and it is with 
no ordinary degree of satisfaction that the directors 
have to congratulate the proprietors that those are 
now surmounted. 

** The unanimity existing among the directors will 
enable them to apply their undivided attention to the 
proper and legitimate business of the company, and 
it is gratifying to them to be able to state that, 
from the short experience they have had, they feel 
confident that the expectations originally entertained 
by the proprietors will be fully realized." 

There was a circular issued by the bank to which 
attention should be called : 


** 29«/t July, 1835. 
"The great features which distinguishes a 
joint- stock bank from a private banking partner- 
ship is the unquestionable security which it 
affords to the public for its notes, deposits, and 
engagements of every description. This security 


is obtained in the first place by the responsi- 
bility of the shareholders for all the liabilities 
of the bank; in the second place by the 
amount of capital of the company ; and in 
the third place the directors are called upon 
annually for an account of their stewardship, 
and to declare a dividend on the profits they 
have made, and it is beyond .the limits of 
probable villainy or possible fraud that they 
should do this otherwise than honestly. . . . 
With private banks in this country, on the 
other hand, undoubtedly there are many which 
realize large profits, and are as solvent as any 
bank can be, but the public has no evidence 
of this." 

Perhaps there may be, and probably is, a vein of 
truth running through these remarks, for they seem 
to have been penned by men who were writing in 
the light of their own times, but the expressions 
** possible fraud " and " probable villainy " seem 
hardly in keeping with public opinion of the present 
day. There were unquestionably, and probably there 
are now in the fold of private bankers some black 
sheep, some who are stemming the adverse current 


of constant demands by subterfuge, but it is a con- 
soling thought that they are few and far between. 
At the same time there are some provincial banks 
running very close indeed to the wind. 

We do not think that it is a matter of general 
knowledge that although the bank had a London office 
from the very first, it was not used for ordinary 
London banking business till 1865. 

Keferring to our previous comment anent the country 
and provincial business which the bank decided to 
bid for, we may say that during the year 1884-35 
no less than twelve branch establishments were 
opened, Bath, Cardiff and Cheltenham being amongst 
the number. But the following year the directors 
showed far more distinctly what was their real policy 
and what was the actual value they placed on a wide 
country connection, for during the twelve months no 
less than thirty-five branch establishments were opened, 
amongst which were those at Aberystwith, Bristol, 
Leicester and Stowmarket. At Barnstaple the busi- 
ness of the North Devon Bank was taken over ; 
and the directors closed the branch at Walsall, 
"where the business had always been dangerous, 
and where a large portion of the capital of the 


company was absorbed which could be much better 
employed in other quarters." In 1837 the business 
of Messrs. Skinner & Co., private bankers, was 
absorbed, and this enabled the bank to be repre- 
sented at Stockton and Darlington, while, about the 
same time, branches were opened at Devonport, Ply- 
mouth, Kingsbridge, Manchester, Eamsgate, Exeter 
and Newcastle-Emlyn. And here diverting for a 
moment let us say that the Manchester branch was 
opened " with a view, in the first instance, of facili- 
tating the operations of the other branches of the 
company, especially those in North Wales." It is amus- 
ing to read this extract of some sixty-five years ago, 
and then glance at the magnificent building which so 
splendidly represents the National Provincial Bank of 
England in Manchester to-day, and at the same time 
to bear in mind that the directors at the date of 
its establishment expressed the hope ** that, at a fit- 
ting season, it may be very serviceable in the interests 
of the company." And here we cannot omit giving 
a short extract from the fourth report, as comparing 
things of to-day with those of long ago, the contrast 
strikes one immediately. On the date of the fourth 
report the bank had fifty-six offices, and the directors^ 


stated ** the transfers between the branches average 
about £60,000 a week, making a total of £8,000,000 
monthly ! " 

Compare this with the balance due on current and 
deposit accounts of some £51,000,000 to-day 1 The 
one is the turn-over, the other the standing balance. 

In 1888 the Eugely, Tamworth & Lichfield Bank- 
ing Company was taken over, as was also the busi- 
ness of Messrs. Husband & Co., of Devonport, and 
that of Messrs. Browse & Co., of Brixham, while 
branches were opened at Southampton and Portsea. 

In the report for 1888 it was notified that the 
premises in Bishopsgate Street had been acquired on 
favourable terms, and it was there that the next 
annual meeting of the shareholders was held. 

In 1841 the business of Fryes, Andrews & Co. 
was acquired, and that of the Dover Bank (Fector's), 
while next year Cole, Holroyd & Co.'s business (of 
Exeter) was taken over. In 1845 the National Pro- 
vincial absorbed Loveband & Co. (of Torrington), 
Ley & Co. (of Bideford), and Pretor & Co. (of Sher- 
borne) ; while the dissolution of the Isle of Wight 
Joint- Stock Bank enabled them to open a branch at 
Newport. Three years later the Stockton & Durham 


County Bank was absorbed, and in 1854 the private 
bank of Kennersley & Sons, of Newcastle-under-Lyme ; 
and in 1859 that of WiUiam Moore, of Stone. In 
1867 the business of Crawsbay, Bailey & Co., of 
Newport, was taken over, and, in 1870, that of 
Morris & Co., of Carmarthen ; while seven years after- 
wards the Bank of Leeds was absorbed. Then, so 
far as amalgamations were concerned, the bank 
remained in a quiescent state till 1902, when the 
Enaresborough & Clare Bank was taken over, which 
gave the National Provincial openings and estab- 
lished businesses at Harrogate, Knaresborough, Eipon, 
Wetherley, Boroughbridge, Pateley Bridge and Mas- 
ham. So we may fairly take it that whereas within 
the last fifteen or twenty years a certain set of banks 
have been increasing their figures by leaps and bounds, 
the National Provincial have " stood on their own 
bottom," and to-day can hold up their head with the 

A word or two as to the capital. In 1853 the 
paid-up capital was £450,000, By subsequent issues of 
shares the paid-up capital was increased to £1,080,000 
in 1866. In 1874 this item stood at £1,350,000, and 
in 1878 it was £1,687,500. From time to time it has 


been increased till to-day it stands at the magnificent 
sum of £3,000,000, with a reserve fund of no less 
than £2,300,000. 

With regard to current and deposit accounts the 
first figures were published in 1867, when they showed 
that on the last day of the previous December this 
item stood at a little over £3,000,000. In 1872 the 
total exceeded £20,000,000. By the 31st December, 
1891, the item amounted to more than £40,000,000, 
and at the present time the confidence which the 
public has in the establishment is clearly demon- 
strated by the fact that more than £50,000,000 are 
entrusted to it. 

The bank was registered as an unlimited company 
in 1873, and as limited in 1880. In 1863 the 
directors ''had come to the full conviction that the 
interest of the bank required that its operations 
should be extended to London at the earliest possible 
moment," and, as most people know, the suggestion 
was at once acted upon. This step was a wise one 
in every sense of the word. The career of progress 
had been started but the fulcrum was not right : 
London was needed as the pivot round which all the 
future business must perforce turn, and very speedily 


the directors found this to be the case. A fresh era 
of prosperity was commenced ; a vista of further pos- 
sibilities was opened up which the then directors were 
not slow to avail themselves of. The present building 
in Biehopsgate Street is one of the finest in London, 
but though the bank authorities see fit to assess 
" Premises " in the balance-sheet at an absurdly low 
figure, every business man knows perfectly w^ell that 
in the item *' Bank Premises " the bank holds another 
magnificent reserve fund — to be touched only in the 
direct case of necessity — but still there. 


We append hereto the balaaice-sheet, shewing the 
accounts of the bank on the 31st December, 1904 : — 

Liabilities, £ s. d. 

Capital : — 

40,000 Shares of £75 each, £10 10s. paid ... 420,000 

215,000 „ £60 „ il2 „ ... 2,580,000 


Reserve Fund 2,300,000 

Current, Deposit, and other Accounts, including 
rebate on Bills not due, provision for bad and 
doubtful debts, etc 50,693,477 14 6 

Acceptances and Endorsements of Foreign Bills 

on Account of Customers 390,578 

Profit and Loss Account : — 

Balance of Profit and 
Loss Account, including 
£83,288 5s. 4d. brought 
from year 1903 £631,476 18 

Less Interim Divi- 
dend, 8 per 
cent, paid in 
August last... £240, 000 

„ Dividend of 
9 per cent, 
payable 8th 
February next 270,000 

,, Transferred to 
Limited, pur- 
chase A/c. ... 20,000 

,, Transferred to 
A/c. ... 15,000 


86,476 18 

£56,470,532 12 6 


Assets. £ s. d. 

Casli :— 

At Bank of England and at Head Office and 

Branches 7,820,752 13 4 

„ Call and Short Notice 3,648,850 17 6 

11,469,603 10 10 

Investments : — £ s. d. 

English Government Securi- 
ties 8,811,833 18 3 

Indian and Colonial Govern- 
ment Securities ; Deben- 
ture, Guaranteed and Pre- 
ference Stocks of British 
Railways ; British Corpora- 
tion and Waterworks Stocks 5,116,312 1 2 

Canal, Dock, River Conser- 
vancy, and other Invest- 
ments 517,678 4 4 

14,445,824 3 9 

Customers for Acceptances and Endorsements of 

Foreign Bills, per Contra 390,578 

Bills Discounted, Loans, etc 29,517,452 2 2 

Bank Premises in London and Country 647,074 15 9 

£56,470,532 12 6 



Parr's Bank, Limited. 

This is one of the great amalgamating banks in the 
country, although for some considerable time it has 
remained in a quiescent state, content in developing 
the various businesses already secured. Coming to 
London with all the keenness of Lancashire it soon 
made its advent felt and its influence recognised, 
thanks mainly to the indomitable energy and enter- 
prise of its then general manager, Mr. John Dun. 

The history of the institution is somewhat inter- 
esting. In the days of old it frequently chanced that 
merchants in London, but more especially in the pro- 
vinces, added to their other business that of banker 
to a limited extent. When roads were not safe, when 
highwaymen and footpads were abroad, it was by no 
means wise to travel after sunset with any consider- 
able sum of money on the person. Hence it was 
that many tradesmen and merchants, to oblige their 
customers, volunteered to keep their money for them, 


and so popular did this practice become that the 
holder would often offer a small rate of interest as 
an inducement to the customer to leave his money 
longer, and to deposit still more. It will be remem- 
bered that the original bank of Coutts & Co. started in 
this way, while the world-known firm of Barclay & Co. 
is said to have been founded indirectly by a trades- 
man of London, and the old firm of Smith, Payne, & 
Smiths — but recently amalgamated with the Union — 
dates back to a Nottingham draper. Many other of 
the old banks were founded in the same manner. 
It was thus that Parr's was established in Warring- 
ton, but there is a good deal of uncertainty as to the 
date of its origin. Well-known and highly respected 
as were the members of the firm, the new departure 
met with great public approval and ready support; 
and, even to-day, there is no banking institution better 
known or more respected in that part of England than 
Parr's. The banking department having progressed so 
satisfactorily, a limited company was formed in 1865, 
with a capital of £1,000,000, divided into 10,000 shares 
of £100 each, of which £10 per share, or £100,000, 
was paid-up, to take over that part of the business. 
A few months afterwards the new company — Parr's 
Banking Company — bought the old established business 


of Thomas Firth & Son, of North wich ; and, two years 
later, that of the Metropolitan & Provincial Bank, of 
Macclesfield. These, however, were only the prelude 
to what was to follow. Having once became fairly 
established the next point was to strengthen the 
position by increasing the amount of capital, so as 
to cope with the increasing business. In 1871 a call 
of £5 per share was made ; and three years after- 
wards, another call for a like amount. At that time 
4,500 new shares were issued, owing to the purchase 
of the business of Woodcock, Sons & Eckersley. As 
amalgamations were effected the capital was from time 
to time increased, and the reserve fund was pro- 
portionately increased, until to-day the total sub- 
scribed is represented by ^68, 542, 500, and the amount 
paid-up by ^61,708,500, while the reserve fund stands 
at a similar substantial sum. 

In 1877 Parr's took over the private bank of 
F. W. Jennings, of Leek; in 1878, Dixons & Co., 
of Chester ; and in 1883 the National Bank of 
Liverpool was absorbed. The bank having greatly 
strengthened its position in the north, the next 
thing was to make a move south, and all eyes 
were turned on London. Every bank director and 


manager of a clearing-bank knew perfectly well that 
all Parr's was waiting for was an opening, since 
for Mr. John Dun to have made up his mind to 
carry through any project it might be considered as 
good as accomplished. It was not long before it 
became known that Parr's had actually achieved their 
ambition. An extraordinary general meeting of the 
shareholders was held at Warrington on 25th July, 
1891, when the chairman said, ''The total turnover 
of the bank amounted to a large sum in the past 
year, and of this amount rather more than one-half 
passed through London ; and it is partly for this 
reason, and partly also in order to take the place 
which we believe our large transactions and impor- 
tant banking position fully warrant, to secure the 
advantages of a share of London business, an open- 
ing to the London market for the employment of 
surplus funds, admission to the London Clearing 
House, and to obtain greater capability for giving in- 
creased facilities to our commercial friends in Warring- 
ton, Liverpool, and elsewhere, that your directors 
have for some time past considered it desirable to 
seek an opportunity for an union with some good 
bank in the city of London, whereby the objects they 


had in view might be attained, and they have now 
the honour and pleasure of announcing that an 
arrangement for an amalgamation has been concluded 
between the partners of the very old established and 
much-respected banking firm of Fuller, Banbury, 
Nix & Co., of 77 Lombard Street, London, and 
Parr's Banking Company, whereby your bank obtains 
entrance to London, and, by means of a first-class 
connection in the city, will command all the advan- 
tages I have enumerated, besides many others which 
such a position may be expected to afford." Such 
was the announcement. London bankers were in no 
way surprised, they had expected something of the 
kind, although few thought that little Fullers would 
have been the house selected. As Fuller's had for 
many a long year enjoyed a seat in the House, 
Parr's naturally inherited it. But all the London 
bankers were cognizant of one thing: they had now 
in their midst a most capable and formidable rival, 
and it would be incumbent upon them to put out 
all their powers if they did not want to be left 
behind in the running. All knew that Parr's had 
come to stay, and that the management were deter- 
mined to forge their way ahead. Few were pre- 


pared for the announcement in 1892 that Parr's had 
secured the Alhance, a most important joint-stock 
bank with a very extensive stock exchange connec-. 
tion, as well as a very wide general business. The 
advantage of this connection was patent to every 
financial man — Parr's had obtained by this move an 
admirable output for any surplus funds they might 
at any time wish to loan. The premises of the 
AUiance were extensive, the position in Bartholmow 
Lane and close by Capel Court, and in the heart 
of the stock-broking world, magnificent. The name 
was then changed to Parr's Banking Company & the 
Alliance Bank, Limited — a title as un wieldly as it 
was unnecessary. Little or no wonder was expressed 
when some few years later this cumbrous nomencla- 
ture was altered to Parr's Bank, Limited. The general 
public is not by any means in favour of long rig- 
maroles as the designation of firms, and experience 
shows that the shorter the title the more it is 

In 1894 Parr's was fortunate in arranging terms 
of amalgamation with the old and highly respected 
private bank, Sir Samuel Scott, Bart., & Co., of 
Cavendish Square ; and in the same year the private 


bank of Shrubsole & Co., of Kingston-on-Thames, 
was purchased. This was a comparatively small insti- 
tution, but very sound, and with a remarkably good 
reputation. Two years later the business of the 
Consolidated Bank, in Threadneedle Street, was pur- 
chased, thus gaining Parr's a further fine stock 
exchange connection. Two years later the Derby & 
Derbyshire Banking Company, Limited, was absorbed. 
In 1900, by a capital stroke of business, Parr's took 
over Dumbell's, of the Isle of Man, practically the 
bank of the island, and in 1902 a splendid new 
footing in Leicestershire was obtained by the absorp- 
tion of Fare's Leicestershire Banking Company, Limited. 
The reserve fund of a bank we consider a most 
important item, and with regard to Parr's it is 
interesting to note that, started in 1865 with £1,000, 
it was continuously and steadily increased year by 
year. In 1871 it reached £54,921, when £45,921 was 
written off the purchase account. The following year 
the additions made brought the fund up to £25,000, 
and ever since continuously additions have been made 
with the result that to-day the amount of the reserve 
equals the paid-up capital. When the amalgamation 
took place with the Alliance in 1892, the reserve 


fund was increased to £1,000,000 — now it stands at 
£1,708,600, a figure which should put to rest the 
minds of all shareholders so far as the stability of 
the bank is concerned. 

We have not a copy of the first published balance- 
sheet of the bank before us, but we are in a position 
to give the most important items. For 1866 the 
figures were: 

Capital issued £1,000,000 

Capital paid-up 100,000 

Reserve Fund fiil 

Deposit and Current Accounts... 906,661 

Acceptances ... ... ... 1,208 

Purchase Account 100,000 

Balance of Profit and Loss ... 11,304 

Cash in hand, at Bank of Eng- 
land, and at Call and Short 
Notice 160,631 

Investments 67,948 

Bills Discounted and Loans ... 839,086 

Preliminary Expenses 862 

Bank Premises and Furniture ... 6,677 

After glancing at these ^figures it will be of 
interest to look at the last published balance-sheet, 


and make a comparison. After forty years of work 
the bank published the following statement as record- 
ing their position on the 81st December, 1904 : — 

Gbneeal Balancb, 3l8T Dbcbmbbr, 1904. 

Capital— 85,425 Shares of £100 
each £8,542,500 

s. d. 

To Amount paid up — £20 per 
Share on 85,425 Shares .. 

,, Reserve Fund 

,, Due by the Bank on Cur- 
rent Accounts, Deposit 
Accounts, Deposit Re- 
ceipts, and Circular Notes 

,, Notes in circulation in the 
Isle of Man 

,, Drafts Current (payable 
within 21 days), Custo- 
mers' Acceptances advised, 
etc. .» 

,, Acceptances on behalf of 

,, Foreign BiUs Negotiated... 

,, Dividend to be now paid... 

,, Bonus of 1 per cent, 

^. Bank Premises Account ... 

„ OflOlcers' Pension and Pro- 
vident Fund 

,, Balance of Profit and Loss, 
carried forward ... 


,492,243 17 


365,831 11 



8 3 

162,307 10 


3 6 



75,647 17 


270,040 7 7 
£36.128.578 3 



d6 s. d. £ s. d. 

By Cash on hand and at Bank 

of England 4,764,414 

,, Money at call and short 

notice 5,858,652 14 7 

10,623,066 14 7 

„ £1,000,000 Consols at 85 ... 850,000 

„ Other Imperial Govern- 
ment Securities (of which 
£240,000 lodged as security 
for Public Accounts and 
tho Note Issue in the Isle 
of Man) British Railway 
Debenture and other first- 
class Stocks 2,317,619 18 * 

3,167,619 18 4 

18,790,686 12 11 

„ Bills Discounted 2,884,713 1 2 

,, Loans and Advances to 
Customers, after deduct- 
ing provision for ail bad 
and doubtful debts, etc. ... 15,543,354 15 8 

,, Acceptances on behalf of 

Customers, as per contra 3,531,052 3 6 

,, Foreign Bills Negotiated, 

as per contra 42,832 11 

„ Bank Premises and Furni- 
ture 835,939 6 1 

£36,128,578 3 

When the first report was issued the bank had 
branches at Northwich, Euncorn, St. Helen's, Widnes, 
and Winsford. In 1891 the head-office was removed 
from Warrington to London, Lombard Street, and when 
the amalgamation with the Alliance took place it was 
again removed to Bartholomew Lane, the premises 

187 N^^gAUFO^S^ 

there being only recorded as the registered office. At 
the present time the bank has branches in all the 
important or rising London suburbs, as well as a splen- 
did country connection. The directors and managers 
of this bank have achieved their ambition ; they have 
succeeded in making Parr's a power in the financial 
world, an institution whose opinion carries great 
weight, a rival which has worked its way steadily 
upwards till it to-day holds the proud honour of 
being one of the first six banks in the country. 



Messrs. Eobarts, Lubbock & Co. 

Year by year, for a long time past, the private 
"banks in this country have been steadily decreasing 
in number owing mainly to amalgamation, absorption 
or purchase. Since some of the joint- stock banks in 
the provinces were able to get into London and 
obtain a seat in the Clearing House there has been 
a steady tide of absorption flowing, each bank having 
a deeply rooted idea that it must attain as quickly 
as possible a topmost position amongst the joint-stock 
banks in the metropolis. The three greatest rivals 
in this direction have been Lloyds, Parr's, and the 
London, City & Midland, with the Metropolitan of 
England and Wales and the Capital & Counties 
following in the rear. Not only the joint- stock but 
private banks have come under the sway of the great 
amalgamators. Of the private banks, all of which had 
seats in the Clearing House, there have disappeared 
in comparatively recent years, Messrs. Barclay & Co., 
Messrs. Barnett, Hoares & Co., Messrs. Bosanquet, 


& Co., Messrs. Dimsdale, Fowler & Co., Messrs. 
Fuller, Banbury & Co., Messrs. Prescott & Co., 
Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths. In addition to 
these, Messrs. Glyn & Co. have registered themselves 
as an unlimited, and Messrs. Martin & Co., as a 
limited company. Thus it is that at the present 
moment Messrs. Eobarts, Lubbock & Co. have the 
proud distinction of being the sole remaining purely 
private bank in the " House." In 1854, when first 
the joint-stock banks were admitted, the number of 
private firms already enjoying seats was twenty-five. 
The last of the old private banks in London to 
succumb to the wiles and fascinations of the amalga- 
mator was the highly respected and very old house of 
Smith, Payne & Smiths. So that the subject of this 
chapter is now the only survivor of all the old 
private banks in the City, and can date its origin 
as far back as 1772. It has held its own for more 
than 130 years in spite of the many financial crises 
which have occurred during that long period; it has 
faced all the keen competition of the joint-stock insti- 
tutions of to-day, and it has refused all tempting 
suggestions to sink its identity by purchase or absorp- 
tion by any of the joint-stock banks be the offers 


never so tempting. Other equally old, or even older 
houses have succumbed to the wiles of the tempter, 
but the firm of Kobarts, Lubbock seems as though 
it could easily be in the running in a century hence, 
as it is to-day. 

The bank was established as far back as 1772, it 
being started on February 5th of that year at 11 
Mansion House Street, under the name of Messrs. 
Lemon, Buller, Furley, Lubbock & Co. Two years 
later the name appears in the list of bankers as at 
the address 14 Abchurch Lane; but the change could 
only have been temporary, as, in 1776, the firm was 
conducting business at 11 Mansion House Street as 
before, the title then being Sir William Lemon, Buller, 
Furley, Lubbock & Co. Thus it continued till 1782. 

In 1785 Sir William Lemon's name disappears, and 
Mr. Bosanquet joins the firm, the title then appear- 
ing as Forster, Lubbock, Bosanquet & Co. A Mr. 
Bosanquet appears to have been connected with the 
bank till 1800, when he left, and entering into part- 
nership with Messrs. Beachcroft & Beeves, opened a 
banking house at 78 Lombard Street, under the name 
of Bosanquet, Beachcroft & Beeves. 

In 1801 the name ♦•Lubbock" appears as " Lub- 
bocks," from which one infers that other members of 


the family must have joined the firm, which was then 
styled Forster, Lubbocks, Forster & Clark — the name 
Clark then appearing for the first time. In 1812 
another of the Forster family seems to have been 
elected a partner, as the title of the firm at that 
date was Forster, Lubbocks, Forsters & Clark. 

Two years later another change took place in the 
name, as it is given as Lubbock, Sir John, Bart., 
Lubbock, Forsters & Clark. In 1820 the house 
was known as that of Sir J. W. Lubbock, For- 
ster & Clark. The name of Clark . disappeared in 

In 1860 an amalgamation took place between this 
house and that of Eobarts, Curtis & Co., and from 
that time business has been carried on at 15 Lom- 
bard Street. 

A word or two about Eobarts, Curtis & Co. 
This firm first appears, under date 1792, as Eobarts, 
Curtis, Were, Hornyold, Berwick & Co., carrying on 
business at 86 Cornhill, City, but five years later 
they removed to 15 Lombard Street. In 1799 the 
name Berwick does not appear in the title of the 

In 1802 the list of bankers gives Eobarts, Curtis, 
Hornyold & Co., as of 18 Exchange Alley ; but, 


three years later, business was again conducted at 
15 Lombard Street, under the title of Eobarts, Curtis, 
Bobarts & Curtis. The name was again changed 
in 1818 to Sir William Curtis, Eobarts & Curtis. 
Another change took place in 1854, when the firm's 
designation was altered to Eobarts, Curtis & Co. 
This title was retained till 1860, in which year an 
amalgamation was effected with Lubbock, Forster & Co. 
Two years later the title of the bank was again 
altered,' this time to Eobarts, Lubbock & Co., the 
title it enjoys at the present time. 

At the present time the partners of the firm are : 

The Eight Hon. the Lord Avebury. 

Abraham John Eobarts, Esq. 

William Cotton Curtis, Esq. 

Henry James Lubbock, Esq. 

Beaumont William Lubbock, Esq. 

Cecil Chaplin, Esq. 

Thomas Edward Eobarts, Esq. 

Hon. John Birkbeck Lubbock. 

George Cotton Curtis, Esq. 
That these gentlemen are admirably adapted to the 
important position they hold there can be no ques- 
tion, since, as we have already stated, the history 


of the bank shows a continuous progress. This can 
be readily seen by a glance at the appended copy 
of the last published balance-sheet. 

Balanob-Shbet, SlsT January, 1905. 

Liabilities. £ 8. d. 

iTo Paid-up Capital and Eeserve Fund 500,000 

„ Current and Deposit Accounts 3,585,455 12 7 

,, Acceptances against Approved Securities ... 70,070 1 6 

£4,155,525 14 1 

Assets. £ 8. d. 

By Cash in hand and at Bank of England ... 855,585 19 3 

„ Cash at Call and at Short Notice 1,002,700 

,, Consols 2i per cent. Stock 

£400,000 at 85 340,000 

,, Transvaal 8 per cent. Stock 

£100,000 at 97 97,000 


,, Indian and Colonial Government Securities 

and English Corporation Stock 141,412 15 4 

,, English Railway Debentures and Prefer- 
ence Stocks and other Investments ... 159,227 8 9 

,, Bills Discounted, Loans and Advances to 

Customers 1,359,783 6 7 

,, Liability of Customers for Acceptances per 

Contra 70,070 1 6 

„ Freehold Bank Premises 129,746 2 8 

£4,155,525 14 1 

And now a word or two about Lord Avebury, the 
head of this old, influential and respected banking- 
house. He was bom 80th April, 1884, and educated 


at Eton. He succeeded as fourth baronet in 1866. 
In every respect he is one of the most remarkable 
men of his time : his fame is world wide. He is 
one of the leading lights in the financial firmament, 
to whom all bankers turn. Nor is it in the bank- 
ing world alone that he stands out pre-eminent. 
Amongst the scientists and men of letters he is 
regarded as one on the topmost rungs of the ladder 
of fame. His deep thought, his great capacities for, 
and patience in investigating small things, and his 
remarkable ability in publishing the result of his 
deep and astute researches in an unusually easy 
style have made his books on everyday subjects 
exceedingly popular. The young men of to-day when 
they are starting in business cannot possibly do 
better than read and carefully think over his advice 
on work, rest, and recreation. On all banking matters 
he has for many years past been regarded as one of 
the greatest authorities of the period, and in every- 
thing connected with finance generally he is equally 
at home. He is the head of the largest financial 
institution in the world — the London Bankers' Clear- 
ing House — he is chairman, also, of the London 
Bankers' Association, and of the Central Association 


of Bankers. He was unanimously elected some twenty- 
one years ago president of the Bank Clerks' Orphan- 
age, an ofiBce which he has ever since occupied. 

lu 1900 he was created Baron Avebury, of Ave- 
bury, Wilts. 

He is a trustee of the British Museum ; hon. 
D.C.L. of Oxford; hon. LL.D. of Cambridge, Dublin 
and Edinburgh; hon. M.D., "Wiirzburg; president of 
the Linnean Society, of the London Chamber of 
Commerce; vice-president of the Boyal Society; 
a J.P. and D.L. for Kent; a Lieutenant for the 
City of London ; a Commander of the Legion of 
Honour; and for some time chairman of the London 
County Council. For many years he has been a privy 

We have here given only a few of the distinctions 
enjoyed by his lordship, and have omitted altogether 
the honours conferred on him by foreign countries. 

With the people he is best known as Sir John 
Lubbock, whose name has and always will be con- 
nected with bank-holidays. It is quite possible, nay 
more than probable, that when Sir John introduced 
his bill into the House he had no idea how far 
reaching would be its effects. The House, always 


attentive to anything that fell from his lips, listened 
in astonishment. The usual course of discussion took 
place, and in due course the bill was passed and 
entered on our statute books. It very soon became 
apparent that it affected rich and poor alike — the 
wealthy banker or merchant had his day's holiday, 
so did the office-boy and the factory-girl ; the govern- 
ment officials and the stockbrokers had a holiday, 
HO did the typeists, the shop-girls, and the dress- 
makers. It was a grand idea — nobly conceived and 
ably carried out. It is now compulsory that many 
hundred of thousands of toilers should have each year 
a certain few days rest, which in many instances they 
would never have obtained. And for this the name 
of Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury) is held in deep 
affection all over the country. 

It is with regret we cannot give a fuller and 
more detailed account of this old house which was 
founded in the years of long ago, when the idea of 
joint-stock banking had not even been conceived, 
when the bankers of London were simply "gold- 
smiths kepeing running cashes." 



The Union of London & Smiths Bank. 

Few, if any, banks Lave been so prominently before 
the public during recent years as this great institu- 
tion, whose head office occupies one of the finest, 
if not the finest position in London. A magnificent 
stately stone building, it stands at the corner of 
Princes Street and Cheapside, facing the Old Lady 
of Threadneedle Street, looking down upon the 
Mansion House, at the meeting of seven main roads — 
Princes Street, Threadneedle Street, Cornhill, Lombard 
Street, King William Street, Cheapside, Queen Vic-' 
toria Street, as well as other thoroughfares of minor 
degree. But the business is as important as the 
building in which it is conducted, since after many 
years of comparative quiescence the Union of late 
years has wakened up to the importance of its 
position in the banking world, and has recognized 
the weight of its responsibilities, and consequently, 
has started quite a new era of activity with apparently 
the view of keeping pace with the rapid strides the 


banking world is making, and determined not to lose 
its place in the running, but to maintain its position 
against the terribly keen competition of to-day. As 
things are now there is no standing still, no resting 
on one's oars, one must either swim with the tide or 
be hopelessly stranded in the course of time. When 
the Union wakened up, the directorate realized their 
position, they put new fire into their work, they 
made up their minds they would hold their own, 
and would not tolerate the idea of the younger insti- 
tutions supplanting them in the world's opinion, and 
so determined to launch out on quite different lines. 
They would no longer be content with the limited 
scope of their already great business; there were fields 
hitherto practically untrodden, they must enter them. 
Although the tide of amalgamation was very strong, 
and almost at flood, there were even j^et many 
thoroughly sound and very old institutions which had 
not listened to the seductive voice of the charmer. 
Perhaps they could play a more attractive and allur- 
ing tune : if so, why should they, too, not join the 
ranks of the progressives ? The result was long in 
coming, but it is with us now, as we shall presently 


The Union is one of the oldest of the joint-stook 
banks in the metropolis. It was founded on 4th Feb- 
ruary, 1839, with a capital of £3,000,000 divided 
into 60,000 shares of ^650 each, of which 42,290 were 
issued, and £5 per share was paid. Two years later 
a call of £5 per share was made. The remainder 
were reserve shares, and were issued at a premium 
of £5 per share in 1854. In 1860 a portion of 
the reserve fund was capitalized, £2 being credited 
to the amount paid on each share. The year 1860 
is one which the bank will never forget, as it is 
"writ large" in its annals by reason of the great 
**Pullinger" frauds. PuUinger was at that time the 
chief cashier of the bank, a position which he had 
long held, and it was in 1860 that it was discovered 
that he had embezzled something like a quarter of 
a million pounds sterling. On this discovery being 
made the directors acted with courage and energy. 
The blow was a heavy one, could its effects be 
moderated ? Again, was it not the right of the 
proprietors of the bank — the shareholders — to be told 
bad news as well as good? The board soon arrived 
at a decision : a circular was sent round to the 
shareholders informing them not only of the magni- 


tude of the loss, but also the plan by which it was 
proposed to meet it. There can be no question that 
this prompt action on the part of the management 
redounded to the credit of the bank. The fearless 
manner in which a catastrophe was met, although 
causing a feeling of regret on behalf of the share- 
holders, confirmed them in their high opinion of the 
management by the way in which they faced the 
tremendous loss. The circular stated that it was 
intended to meet the loss in the following manner: 
The Amount Credited out of 
Profit on Capital Account, 
as stated was withdrawn ... £120,000 

Written off Keserve Fuud ... 100,000 

Taken from current Profits, say, 30,000 

Total, pay, £250,000 

That the course adopted by the directors was a wise 
one was amply demonstraled by the immediate results. 
Instead of the credit of the bank being decreased it 
was greatly enhanced, and the customers, who had 
experienced a nasty shock, were more than reassured, 
and the business of the Union, instead of decreasing, 
steadily progressed to such an extent that after the 


lapse of two years no less a sum than £120,000 
was re-credited to capital account. Thus each share 
at that time was credited with £15 paid. During 
1864 the capital was increased to £4,000,000 nominal 
and £1,200,000 paid-up, by the issue of 20,000 new 
shares at a premium of £16 per share. In 1872 
a further 10,000 new shares were issued, also at 
a premium of £16, and the amount received on 
account of premium was credited to the reserve fund. 
In 1874, out of surplus profits, the directors declared 
a bonus of lOs. per share by again crediting that 
amount as paid up on each share on account of 

It was in 1882 that the bank was registered as 
a limited company, when the nominal capital was 
increased to £11,000,000, and 20,000 new shares 
issued at a premium of £12 10s. per share. The 
whole of the share capital was doubled, £50 per 
share being added to the nominal or face value. 
This brought up each share to the value of £100, 
with £15 lOs. paid, and, what was most important, 
£50 of the balance due per share was fixed as 
♦* reserved liability," only to be called up in case of 
the bank having to go into liquidation. At the 


present time, by reason of increase of business and 
acquisition of other banking institutions, the authorised 
capital has been increased to £25,000,000, of which 
£28,934,100 has been subscribed, and £3,654,785 10s. 
paid up. 

We have not been able to procure a copy of the 
first balance-sheet published by the Union, but we 
find that at the end of the first year of its establish- 
ment the directors allocated a certain proportion of 
the profits as the nucleus of a reserve fund, which 
has been steadily increased till it now stands at 

The bank started with its head offices at 8 Moor- 
gate Street, and remained there till 1845, when 
premises were taken at 2 Princes Street. These 
premises were rebuilt in 1885, the premises of the 
Azienda Insurance Company on the one side, and 
those of the world-famed tavern, ** The European," 
on the other were procured. 

It was not till 1840 that the Union opened its 
first branch — in Eegent Street, but the following year 
an office was started at Charing Cross. In 1855 the 
bank opened a branch at Temple Bar, and four years 
later took over the business of Messrs. Dixon & Co., 


private bankers, in that district. Since then the 
capacious premises in Chancery Lane have been erected, 
and the business of this branch has been transferred 
there — a splendid move on the part of the bank — 
"which has ever since proved most successful and 
profitable. It was in 1870 that the Union started 
business at Holborn Circus, and the Bayswater branch 
was opened in 1882. In 188G the Fenchurch Street 
branch was opened, and almost at once the bank 
decided very wisely to put this branch in the 
"Clearing." The same year the Union took pre- 
mises and opened a branch in Tottenham Court 
Eoad, although there they had to compete with the 
London & Westminster, the Central, and the City. 
The venture w«s very successful, and the directors 
must congratulate themselves on the decision. In 1888 
a branch was started at Chelsea, in Sloane Street, 
and in 1892 at Southwark. 

In 1891 the Union took over the old private bank 
of Chasemore & Eobinson, of Croydon, and with this 
connection opened a branch in that most important 

We learn that in the balance-sheet for the half-year 
ended 80th June, 1840, the total of the current and 


deposit accounts was only i;377,000. Considering this 
total, and that for the year ended 3 let December, 
1904, the difference is most surprising. The balance- 
sheet, as published for the half-year ended 31st 
December, 1904, was : — 

Statement or Accounts for the Half-year ending 
31st Decembek, 1904. 

General Balance. 

Dr, Liabilities. 

£ 8. d. 
Capital subscribed £22,934,100 in 229,341 Shares 
of £1C0 each ; paid up £15 10s. per Share ... 3,554,785 10 

Eeserve Fund — 

Invested in Consols, Local Loans Stock, and 
Transvaal Government 3 per cent. Guaran- 
teed Stock as per Contra 1,150,000 

Deposits and Current Accounts 34,337,250 16 2 

Acceptances and Guarantees 2,157,637 16 2 

Liabilities by indorsement on Foreign Bills sold 13,319 9 4 

Other Liabilities, being interest due on Deposits, 
unclaimed Dividends, &c. ... 445,523 12 1 

Eebate on Bills not due 23,051 7 2 

Profit and Loss — 

Balance brought forward ... £55,987 16 

Net profit for the half-year 
ending 31st December, 1904 213,425 19 11 

269,413 15 11 

£41,950,982 6 10 


Cr. Assets. 

£ 8. d. £ 8. d. 

Cash in Hand , 3,264,723 15 6 

„ in Bank of England ... 3,692,518 17 3 

6,957,242 12 9 

Money at Call and at Short 
Notice 6 280.641 9 9 


Securities of and guaranteed 
by the British Government 2,963,674 16 5 

Indian Stock and Indian 
Railway Guaranteed Bonds 382,436 6 

English Corporation Stocks, 
Railway and Waterworks 
Debenture and Preference 
Stocks, Colonial Stocks, 
Foreign Government and 
Railway Debenture Bonds 1,186,464 10 6 

Other investments 52,571 12 10 

4,585,147 5 9 
Reserve Fund — 

£560,000 Consols at 85 

£510,000 Local Loans Stock, 
at 96 

£192, 100 Transvaal Govern- 
ment 3 per cent. Guaran- 
teed Stock, at 96 1,150,000 

5,735,147 5 9 

Bills Discounted — 

(a) Three months and under 4,657,742 11 1 

(6) Exceeding Three months 505,501 7 11 

5,163,243 19 

Loans and Advances 14,299,819 3 7 

Liabilities of Customers on Acceptances and 

Guarantees, as per Contra 2,157,637 16 2 

Liabilities of Customers for indorsements, as per 
Contra 13,319 9 4 

Bank Premises, chiefly freehold 1,214,243 18 8 

Other Assets, being interest due on Investments, 

&c 129,686 11 10 

£41,950,982 6 10 


So far as to-day is concerned the mot d'ordre is amal- 
gamation. The directors of the Union have grasped 
that, and with their new energy have proved them- 
selves not a whit behind, and perhaps far in advance 
of many of their confreres. They have arranged and 
completed terms of amalgamation with one of the 
most important and best-known private banks in the 
financial world — Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths — 
whose reputation was world-wide, whose connection 
was very extensive, and at the same time very select 
and valuable, whose standing in the city as an old 
private bank stood second to none except Martin's — 
who had registered under the Limited Liabilities 
Act— and to Robarts, Lubbock & Co., the only remain- 
ing private bank in the Clearing House. In taking 
this great step in advance they not only took over 
the London business of Smith, Payne & Smiths, 
but also that of several private institutions con- 
nected with the Lombard Street firm by connection 
or otherwise with old - established and widespread 
businesses in the country. This at once raised the 
Union many points in the estimation of their London 
competitors. For many a year previously several of 
the great joint-stock amalgamating banks had cast 


envious eyes on the magnificent business of Smith, 
Payne & Smiths, but without result. The Union did 
the successful wooing and winning. To say that 
London bankers were surprised at the announcement 
is putting the matter too mildly — they were all non- 
plussed. It had been thought that Smith's would 
have followed the example of Barclay's, and made a 
combination of their own institutions and those in 
which they were directly or indirectly interested, and, 
therefore, no one would have been an atom aston- 
ished if they had heard or read of terms of arrange- 
ment having been entered into between several private 
banking companies, and a limited company being 
registered under the Act; — in any case the amalga- 
mation between the Union and Smiths was equally 
advantageous, the latter retaining the freehold of their 
extensive premises, worth an almost fabulous sum. 

Not content with this splendid stroke of business — 
the securing of a house of so great antiquity — the 
directors took another most important step. They 
managed to secure, on equitable terms, the old estab- 
lished house of Prescott, Dimsdale & Co., of Corn- 
hill — another bank with a seat in the "House" — 
and one with a very extensive connection in the West 


of England. After this second big amalgamation the 
Union of London had, of necessity, to alter their 
title, and the directors decided to make it as short as 
was compatible with public requirements. They there- 
fore styled their institution — the '* Union of London & 
Smith's Bank, Limited." 

The bank, as now constituted, has a splendid for- 
ward career in front of it, and we have no doubt 
that with a continued strong management it will main- 
tain, if not accentuate the rapid growth it has made 
in recent years. Even yet with all the competition- 
keen though it is — there is plenty of room in the 
suburbs for further extension — and still more in the 
provinces. At present there are many districts quite 
inadequately supplied with banking accommodation : 
there are others which, so far, have hardly been 
touched. With their magnificent head ofiice, their 
great funds, and their able management, the directors 
of the Union will probably before long climb up 
another rung or two on the ladder of progress. 

Since this date the Union have taken over the 
following private banks : — 

Messrs. Butcher & Sons. 

Messrs. Hilton, Rigden & Co, 

Messrs. Sanders, Snow & Co. 


As it may be of interest to take a cursory glance 
at the two grand old houses taken over by the Union, 
we give a short account of them. 

Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths. 

This was one of the oldest private banks in London, 
and is particularly interesting, since it was at one 
time so intimately connected with the London Bankers' 
Clearing House. Prior to the erection of the present 
Clearing House the "clearing" clerks used to meet 
in a room in the banking house of Messrs. Smith, 
Payne & Smiths. Although we have not been able to 
obtain any definite information as to the date when 
the occupancy started we have been creditably in- 
formed that in 1827 '* the Clearing House or office 
adjoined the bank of which it formed part." 

This famous banking house had a most interesting 
origin. In a large town in the midland counties lived 
a draper, whose name was Smith, and whose shop 
was much patronised by the farmers' wives and 
daughters, While the good ladies were shopping, the 
farmers were busy transacting their own business, and 
naturally called back at the draper's to pick up their 
lady companions. They would adjourn into a com- 
fortable little parlour at the back of the shop, where 


they would discuss affairs in general, and the state 
of the roads in particular — the state so far as safety 
from highwaymen and footpads Was concerned. In 
those days travelling at night was unsafe and hazar- 
dous. Add to this the fact that the farmers would 
frequently have in their possession large sums of 
money, and it will be at once gathered that a 
certain amount of courage was necessary to under- 
take the homeward journey unprotected. 

Mr, Smith realized this, and hit upon a happy 
idea, and suggested to the farmers that he would will- 
ingly take charge of their surplus money, and they 
could get it from him whenever they pleased. The 
suggestion met with great favour, as it ensured safety 
and obviated anxiety. The honest and straightfor- 
ward draper soon found himself the custodian of con- 
siderable sums of money : he then astonished his 
customers by announcing that he would offer them 
on any sums they liked to entrust him with, or rather 
on the balance left with him, a small rate of interest. 
The natural consequence was that the amount of 
the deposits rapidly increased. Year by year the 
business of the mid-country draper continued to in- 
crease, and to such an extent that it was found 


essential that a separate department should be opened 
to meet the banking requirements of the customers, 
who flocked from far and near. At last the drapery- 
business was entirely dropped, and all attention was 
given to banking. 

His son, besides continuing business at Nottingham 
opened offices at Hull and Lincoln. Presently it was 
found needful to have a London representative, and 
Mr. Payne was selected. The choice turned out a 
very happy one. In 1759 the name appears in the 
directory as Smith & Payne, of Lothbury, and in 
1770 they removed to 18 Lombard Street. In 1773 
the firm was Smith, Payne & Smith, of George 
Street, Mansion House. In 1785 it was Smith, Payne, 
Smiths & Payne, but in 1786 the second Payne dis- 
appeared, and the firm traded as Smith, Payne & Smiths. 

The bank is first recorded as at No. 1 Lombard 
Street, in 1880, a building still used by the now 
amalgamated banks, the business of the now defunct 
" house " being still carried on there. In this par- 
ticular we must record that there is no bank in 
London — other than the Bank of England — enjoying 
so magnificent a site. Not only does the freehold of 
No. 1 Lombard Street, belong to the Smith family, 


but the whole of the land bounded by Lombard 
Street, St. Swithin's Lane, George Street and Mansion 
House Street respectively — a freehold site the value of 
which can only be dreamed of, but which, sold under 
the hammer, would cause the greatest sensation of 
many centuries past. 

There is a good tale told of a young woman, who 
was brought many years ago before a London magis- 
trate for vagrancy. On being asked her name, she 
replied that it was Smith. Her interrogator then 
wanted to know whence she came, and what was 
her father's occupation. The worthy magistrate was 
astounded to learn that her father was a banker at 
Nottingham. At once the renowned Nottinghamshire 
banker flashed before him, but the appearance of the 
young woman seemed to belie her relationship to so 
wealthy and respectable a gentleman. As, however, 
she persisted in her statements, and said, moreover, 
that she had been obliged to leave home because her 
father could not afford to keep her, the magistrate 
was more and more mystified, and remanded her while 
inquiries were instituted. A clergyman of Nottingham 
was communicated with, who shated that the young 
woman was not the daughter of the renowned banker. 


but of a mud banker in the fens, and that her father 
had been compelled through her misconduct to refuse 
to support her. He further stated that the labourers 
engaged in draining the water from the fens were 
called bankers — hence the term '* country banker." 

Presoott, Dimsdale & Co. 

This bank, though to all intents and purposes a 
private institution, was yet a company registered under 
the Joint Stock Companies' Act. Like Barclay's it 
was a combination of several private banks — namely, 
Prescott, Cave, Buxton, Loder & Co., and Messrs. 
Dimsdale, Fowler, Barnard & Dimsdale, of London ; 
Messrs. Miles, Cave, Baillie & Co,, of Bristol; and 
Messrs, Tugwell, Brymer & Co., of Bath. When the 
amalgamation, which came quite as a surprise, took 
place, the name of the Jfirms was altered to Pres- 
cott, Dimsdale, Tugwell Co., Limited, 

Prescott & Co. — This bank had but little history. 
It was started in Threadneedle Street, and it was 
practically in the same spot that business was con- 
ducted at the time of the amalgamation with Messrs. 
Dimsdale, of Cornhill. It was founded as far back 
as 1766, with the title of Prescott, Grote & Co., and 


it was first opened for business at 57 Tlireadneedle 
Street. It is not quite clear when the business was 
transferred to No. 62, but that is the address given 
in the directory for 1776, when the title of the bank 
appears as Prescotts, Grotes, Culverden & Hollings- 
worth. In 1797 the name of Culverden does not 
appear, the firm standing as Prescott, Grote & Hol- 
lingsworth. Two years later the name HoUingsworth 
disappeared, and another Prescott came on the scene, 
the title then being changed to Prescott, Grote & Pres- 
cott. After sundry changes the name of the firm 
was known in 1876 as Prescott, Cave & Co., and 
this title was retained until the amalgamation. 

DiMSDALE & Co. — After much enquiry we have been 
entirely unsuccessful in tracing the exact date of the 
establishment of this very old private house, but it 
is quite clear that it must have been established prior 
to 1762. One interesting point is this, that like all 
bankers or goldsmiths of or about this date, it had 
its distinctive sign, and was better known by the 
name of "The Golden Helmet and the Golden Bear," 
than by the name of the partners themselves. In 
1770 business was carried on at 50 Cornhill, by 
Messrs. Cornewall, Staples & Watts. About the same 


time Messrs. Dimsdale, Archer, Kyde, Dimsdale & Co, 
were in business at 2 White Hart Court. In 1779 
an amalgamation took place between the two firms. 
The two united firms carried on business in a 
satisfactory and progressive way till 1852, when an 
amalgamation was effected with the old private house of 
Drewett, Fowler & Co,, when the name of the united 
firms was altered to Dimsdale, Drewett, Fowler & Bar- 
nard. In 1866 the name Drewett disappeared, and 
later the title was changed to Dimsdale, Fowler, 
Barnard & Dimsdale. 

The firm of Drewett & Fowler was founded late in 
the last century by a bill-broker named Mr. Joseph 
Smith, who was a partner in the firm of Birkbeck & Co., 
of Settle. Mr. Smith had in his establishment 
a clerk named Holt, whom he afterwards took into 
partnership, and the style of the house was altered 
to Smith & Holt. In 1809 it was known as W. 
Holt & Co., Mr. Smith having retired and a Mr. 
Drewett having been taken in as a partner. In 1828 
Mr. Holt died, and Mr. Thomas Fowler joined the 
firm, which was then known as Drewett & Fowler. 
Referring to this bank the City Press said : " It is 
always a pleasure to note the history of old firms, 


but it sometimes happens, as in the case of this 
house, that although there have been times of great 
depression and feverish excitement, enormous specula- 
tions and tremendous failures, that throughout it all 
the * even tenour of its way ' is pursued, so that 
beyond the bare record of the changes which the 
stern hand of Death invariably necessitates, there is 
but little else to record. The bare fact of a bank 
established considerably more than a century ago 
being able to still maintain its richly-merited con- 
fidence, and unsullied name, in spite of the keen 
competition of the present time, speaks volumes to its 
credit. At times of great financial crises, and ex- 
ceptional disturbance in the banking world, when 
many houses of long standing were either actually 
stopping payment, or tottering to their fall, the firm 
of Messrs. Dimsdale & Co. has stood its ground firm 
and unshaken. Though joint-stock banks have sprung 
up on all sides of us, with their enormous capitals, 
and unlimited resources, offering banking facilities in 
earlier times unthought of, yet this house, more than 
twice the age of the oldest joint-stock bank, not only 
keeps in the running, but, what is more, enjoys as 
high, if not higher, a reputation than ever. 


"To the City this house is of especial interest, 
because one of its chief members is Sir Eobert 
Nicholas Fowler. This gentleman was elected Alder- 
man for the "Ward of Cornhill in 1878. Two years 
later he was elected Sheriff for London and Middle- 
sex. In 1884 he enjoyed the highest civic dignity, 
as he represented London as its Lord Mayor. It 
was during his mayoralty that Prince Leopold, Duke 
of Albany, died, and the Inner Circle Eailway was 
opened. The following year the then Lord Mayor 
(Mr. Alderman Nottage) died in office, and Mr. Alder- 
man Fowler was unanimously elected to take his 
place, and before his second term of office had ex- 
pired her Majesty conferred a baronetcy on him. 

** Sir Bobert Fowler was well-known as a politician, 
and, when he addressed the House, always spoke 
straight to the point. Mr. Gladstone, addressing Mr. 
Fowler at the banquet on November 9th, 1888, said, 
*I have always known you as a frank, bold, and 
courageous opponent in the House of Commons,' " 

After the amalgamation it was decided that the 
head office should be in Cornhill instead of Thread- 
needle Street, so the business of Messrs. Dimsdale 
was transferred to the latter address during the 


demolition of the Cornhill premises. This took a 
considerable time and evoked a great amount of 
interest. It was decided to build a double basement, 
and that necessitated sinking the foundations to a 
depth of from 80 to 40 ft. Archaeologists all over 
the country watched the progress of the excavation 
with the keenest interest, and were will rewarded for 
their pains. The deeper the excavations became the 
more treasures were found. These consisted of all 
sorts of Eoman relics — pottery, spearheads, and the 
like, with now and again articles of antiquity which 
reminded one very forcibly of those of to-day. The 
old Eoman wall which in ancient times surrounded 
Londiniensis was struck at an angle, and for days 
strenuous endeavours were made to remove it. It 
was about 20 ft. below the level of the street — but 
the stone, or concrete which answered the pur- 
pose of stone, was of such a nature that the edges 
of the chisels were turned as though they had been 
made of tin. Finally, it was decided that no further 
money should be spent on such unremunerative work, 
and, consequently, to-day in what become the head 
office of Prescott Dimsdale's bank — and now is 
the Cornhill branch of the Union of London and 


Smiths — there can be seen in one of the vaults the 
angular portion of what at one time, in the days 
of long ago, was part of London's fortifications. 
" While writing on this subject," says a well-known 
authority, "I may mention that when the old house 
was being demolished I saw close by, in fact, adjacent 
to the old Eoman wall, a portion of what appeared 
to be a tomb covered over with a very thick block 
of stone. Much curiosity was evinced as to what 
it in reality was, but the investigation started was 
never pursued. It appeared to me as though it 
might have been a receptacle for records and docu- 
ments. Some attempts were made to break away the 
brickwork, but these failed ignominiously. Numerous 
human bones were discovered, and at the greatest 
depth, below the bed of London clay, and buried in 
the white clay which underlies the London clay, was 
discovered a skull. To whom it belonged or by what 
means the owner met with his death will for ever 
remain a mystery. It was here, too, that the bed of 
a stream was discovered ; whether or not it was 
once a portion of Wall Brook has not been decided, 
but there were clear indications that at one time it 
had been a rivulet." The London wall referred to 


above was probably a portion of that which was dis- 
covered when "The Woolpack " [at the corner of 
St, Peter's Alley was being rebuilt, and when the 
foundations of "The Half Moon" at the corner of 
the main entrance to Leadenhall Market were being 
laid. The angle in each of the three cases seems 
to have been almost identical. 



Williams, Deacon's Bank, Limited. 

There is no bank in London enjoying a higher repu- 
tation than that of Williams, Deacons. Long before 
the time of any of the present generation existed 
this house was flourishing, doing a large business, 
and earning for itself golden opinions all over the 
country. It was with a pang of regret that one 
learned that the partners had decided to combine 
their interests with those of the Manchester & Sal- 
ford Bank, Limited, although everybody knew that 
the latter institution, though of comparatively modem 
growth, was sound as a trivet, had a splendid con- 
nection, and was doing a large and remunerative 
business. With many folk there is the feeling that 
if a private bank allow itself to be absorbed by a 
limited company — be it ever so good — an old land- 
mark has been swept off the scenes. Hence it was 
that the amalgamation of Williams, Deacons & Co. 
with the Manchester & Salford Bank, Limited, by no 
means gave unmixed pleasure and satisfaction. 


So far back as 1793 in the " List of Bankers " 
we find ''Williams, Son & Drury, 20 Birchin Lane," 
and this firm appeared in the "Directory" for 1779 
as "Lowe, Vere, Williams & Jennings, of 20 Birchin 

When the house was actually started we cannot 
trace — but it was "in the days of long ago." It 
would be exceedingly interesting to find the old 
records and make from them quotations which would 
enable us to see what was the nature of the busi- 
ness then. That it was very far-reaching none will 
doubt, and most probably it was in the nature of 
that carried on by other goldsmiths — "kepeing run- 
ning cashes." In the days of wild excitement and 
mad frenzy attendant on the South Sea Bubble the 
bank was there, and successfully weathered the terrific 
crash which followed. The crises of the Bank of 
England were witnessed and tided over without trouble. 
The cashiers welcomed all customers on Black Friday. 
The Baring crisis had no effect. And when we had 
the Australian Black List constantly growing longer 
and more serious, business in this bank went on in 
the usual methodical uninterrupted manner. One 

would at these times of stress as soon have expected 
the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street to close her 
doors as to have dreamed of any unbearable strain 
being felt by this old banking house. 

The firm were the recipients of all sorts of con- 
fidences from near and far. When by chance there 
was trouble abroad customers would send their valu- 
ables for safe custody, and, perchance, some of these 
packages were never called for. In the times of 
Continental wars we are informed that it was no 
uncommon thing for the bank to receive a sealed 
box or case for safe custody, and it is more than 
probable that during troublous times at home the 
bank received like confidences. It was not many 
years ago when the bank authorities having decided 
to have a clean-out of their strong-room a singular 
thing occurred. While moving an old time-worn 
wooden box the men let it fall. It dropped on one 
of its corners, which was smashed. To the astonish- 
ment of all gold-dust and rough diamonds poured out. 
The box had been in the bank's custody so many years 
that the label containing the name and particulars 
had long since gone, and although the most dihgent 
search was made, no trace could ever be found in 


any of the books of the original depositor. We give 
this as we heard it from one of the officials, but 
we have not learned what was the actual fate of 
this most mysterious deposit. And this is only one I 
How many others may there not have been like it? 

The Manchester & Salford Bank with which 
Williams Deacon amalgamated was established in 
1836, and on August 15th of that year commenced 
business in King Street, Manchester. From the very 
first substantial progress was made, as will be seen 
by the following extracts from the report presented 
at the first annual meeting (August 28th, 1837) : — 

'' The accounts have been made up to the 30th June 
last, and after all the expenses of outfit have been 
deducted, as well as an ample sum for dubious and 
bad debts, the balance of profit, consisting of profit 
on trade and premium upon shares, has been ascer- 
tained to amount to £18,872 2s. 8d., and the state- 
ment of the accounts has been examined and signed 
by three of the directors, in conformity with the eighth 
clause of the Deed of Settlement. 

" The directors have come to the conclusion that 
in the exercise of their discretion they shall best 
promote the permanent interests of the company by 


carrying the above-mentioned sum of £18,872 2s. 8d. 
to a ' Reserved Surplus Fund ' account ; and they 
esteem it a fortunate circumstance that, after a 
period of extraordinary reverses in trade and great 
interruption of business, they are thus enabled to lay 
the foundation of a Guarantee Fund, so conducive 
to the prosperity and safety of the bank." 

This wise poHcy was steadily pursued with great 
advantage to the bank's reputation. The original 
paid-up capital was £252,000. In 1860, after paying 
a dividend of 8 per cent., a bonus of 4s. 2d. per 
share was declared to be added to the capital stocky 
and at the next yearly meeting a similar bonus on 
the capital was announced, thus raising it to 
£296,845 15s. 8d. Next year a bonus of 8s. 4d. 
was similarly distributed, and, in 1863, 4s. 2d. per 
share. Two years later a bonus of 18s. 9d. per 
share was declared. In 1874, when the business of 
Heywood Brothers & Co. was acquired 15,000 new 
shares were issued, and at a speciel general meeting 
in 1877 it was decided to create a further 25,000. 
At the close of 1880 the paid-up capital was 
£760,000, which large sum was increased to £1,000,000 
on the amalgamation with WiUiams Deacon in 1890. 



When the amalgamation was effected the name 
of the north country bank was tacked on, and 
remained so for many years, but, at last, it was 
decided to take the wise course of altering an un- 
wieldly title to one which could be easily remembered 
and recorded. So far as the London bank was con- 
cerned, even after the amalgamation, the old name 
was regarded by the public as the only right one. 

Below is a copy of the balance-sheet issued by the 
bank, under date 81st December, 1904 : — 


£ 8. d. 
To Capital : 125,000 £50 Shares 

£ s. d. 

Of which paid-up £8 per 


„ Eeserve Fund 


„ Unpaid Dividends 895 10 

„ Dividend and Bonus, Decem- 
ber, 1904 75,000 

„ Amount due on Current, Deposit and other 

75,805 10 
11,354,456 8 9 

,, Acceptances and Credits opened on behalf 
of Customers 

298,481 11 

„ Foreign Bills Negotiated 

31,017 10 

„ Rebate Account 

23,620 9 3 

„ Balance of Profit and Loss carried forward 

7,566 5 2 

£13,415,947 5 



T> ^ . £ s. d. 

£y Cash on Hand and at the 

Bank of England ... 1,890,554 15 11 

„ Money at Call and at Notice 1,290,944 2 2 

„ British Government Stock, 
viz. : — 
£1,111,111 2 2i per cent. Consols, at 85 

, , British and Indian Govern- 
ment Securities,English 
Railway Stocks, &c. ... 

Bills of Exchange 

Advances on Current Ac- 
counts and Loans on 

Acceptances and Credits 
Issued on behalf of 
Customers, as per contra 

Foreign Bills Negotiated, 
as per contra 

Bank Premises in London, 
Manchester and thirty- 
five other places 

Leis Depreciation 

480,772 14 1 

£ s. d. 

3,181,498 18 1 

944,444 8 6 

1,399,130 14 7 

5,525,074 1 2 

2,078,985 11 8 

5,113,616 6 8 

298,481 11 
31,017 10 

328,772 14 1 
£13,415,947 5 

.^ ^ V -> N A :? y- 

or TMl 


London & Paris Exchange, 

Authorised Capital 


Managing Director 



Banking and Exchange Business of Every Description Transacted. 
Advances made on Industrial Securities at 1 per cent above Bank Eate, 

and on Mining Shares at 5 per cent, per annum. 

Deposit Accounts : Eate 3 per cent, per annum, Eepayable on Demand, 

Drafts Issued on New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Montreal, 


Business undertaken in all Stocks and Shares. Unquoted Securities 



Special Eates quoted for all classes of Insurance. 

Head Offices— 

Banking and Insurance Departments— 

Auction, Land and Estate Department— 

West End Office— 

Branch Offices— 

Aberdeen — Northern Assurance Buildings, 

Union Street. 
Belfast— DonegaXl Square West, 
Birmingham— Central House, New Street. 
Brighton— 150, North Street. 
Bristol— 2Z, Clare Street. 
Cambridge — Llandaff Chambers, Regent 

DttSZin— 43, Dame Street. 
Eastbourne — 17a, Terminus Road. 
Olasgow-^b, Renfield Street. 
Hastings— 6, Trinity Street. 
flwW— Prudential Buildings, King Edward 

Leeds— St&ndard Buildings, City Square. 

Liverpool — 11, Lord Street. 

Manchester— Eagle Insurance Buildings, 64, 
Cross Street. 

Neweastle-on-Tyne — Sun Insurance Build- 
ings, Collingwood Street, 

JNottingham— 19, Low Pavement. 

Oxford— Ba, St, Michael's Street, 

Plymouth — Prudential Buildings, Bedford 

Southampton— FrudentiaX Buildings, Above 

Canada— TORONTO : 34, Victoria Street. 
Licensed by the Government of Ontario to deal in Stocks and Shares. 


Telephones— 223, 223 and 227 London Wall (National). 6536 Central (P.O.) 
Telegrams and Cablegrams Private Wire)— "Plenarily, London." 


London & Paris Exchange, 

(Incorporated under the * ' Companies Acts, 1862 to 1900.) 

Authorised Capital - - £250,000 
Paid-up Capital - - - £100,000 

Managing Direetop - - A. M. MANDEVILLE, Esq. 

if^HE history of this important financial institution is briefly 
this : Foreseeing a steady development throughout the 
United Kingdom, the Continent, and the Colonies of the Indus- 
trial and Mining Industries, and recognising the important fact 
that the public must year by year require increased facilities for 
dealing in and obtaining advances on such securities, it was decided 
in 1895 to found the London <fe Paris Exchange, Limited. Business 
was commenced at 24, Throgmorton Street, a few doors away from 
where the first Joint-Stock Bank, i.e., the London <fe Westminster 
Bank, was first started. The j^ublic were quick to appreciate the 
advantages and facilities offered, together with the promptness and 
accuracy with which all transactions were carried through, that 
within a very few years the clientele of the firm so increased that 
larger ofl&ces had to be secured, and the business was transferred to 
its present 'premises at Basildon House, Moorgate Street, Bank. 

Each successive year the volume of business steadily expanded, 
calling for additional office accommodation, so that at the present 
time the offices occupied by the London & Paris Exchange rank 
among the finest and most business-like in the City of London. 
Branch Offices have been established at most of the leading centres 
in the United Kingdom, and aflford those clients residing in the 
provinces the facility of having a personal interview with their 
Managers. Agencies have also been established at the leading 
financial centres on the Continent and in the Colonies. At Toronto, 
Canada, the Exchange hold a special license from the Government 
of Ontario to deal in Stock Exchange Securities. The Exchange 
has been successful in negotiating several Municipal and Corpora- 
tion Loans, and the Estate and Insurance Departments are rapidly 
extending their sphere of influence, proving of great utility and 
importance to the general public. So colossal a business involves 
the employment of a very large staff, which must of necessity be 
highly trained ; the employees have their own Athletic and Cricket 
Club, with their private grounds at Mill Hill Park, Ealing. 

Until the London <fe Paris Exchange was founded no recognised 
Banking institution existed prepared to fill the place left vacant 
by the private Banker, or to cope with the wants of the Mining 
and General Investor. The integrity and intelligence with which 
it has been conducted is responsible for the high standing of the 
firm in the world of finance to-day. 



Barclay & Company, Limited. 

Being a History of the old Banking firm of Barclay dc Company ^ 

and also of the various Institution which have been, from time to 

timey amalgamated with or absorbed by them. 



(author of ** THE THREE CROWNS " ; ** LEADING LONDON BANKS " ; *' 80MMB 

OLDB curiosities"; "banking statistics"; "bank balance sheets"; 
" our clearing system and clearing houses " ; etc., etc. 

S)cMcate& to 



Paper Covers, 2s. 6d. ; Cloth Boards, 3s. 6d. 

London : Lombard Press Association, 45, Lombard Street, E.G. 

For History of Old London Private Banks read 

BY A KNTGTHE OFFE YE QUILLE. Price, Paper Cover*, Is. 

Contents :— 


I, Early Banking, 
II. The Goldsmiths. 

III. Retfal Tyranny. 

IV. Questionable Reparation. 
v. Old Houses. 

VI. "The Three Crowns" — Messrs. 

Coutts & Co. 
VIL "The Marygold"— Messrs. Child 

Vin. "The Grasshopper"— Messrs. Mar- 
tin & Co. 


IX. Messrs. Smith, Payne & Smiths. 
X. Messrs. Barclay, Bevan, Tritton 

Ransom, Bouverie & Co. 
XI. Meij*r8. Glyn, Mills & Co. 
XII. Messrs. Fuller dc Co. 

XIII. Messrs. Robarts, Lubbock & Co. 

XIV. Messrs. Bosanquet. Salt & Co. ; Willis, 

Percival k Co.; Goslings, Sbarpe & 
XV. The Bankers' Clearing-HouBe. 
XVI. Odds and Ends. 

Press Opinions:— 

"An interesting history of old London 'Bw.nV.n "Statiat. 

"A mass of Interesting records and comments."- -Bankerif Magazine. 

" Will interest and amuse everyone who is • Something* In a Bank."- Scotsman. 

"The book Is valuable alike for the record facta which It presents, and for the 
amount of entertainment it affords."— Liverpool Courier. 

"The story of early English Banking, told in a graphic way, and Is replete with 
anecdotes and historical reminiscejices."— Fi/ianciaZ News. 

London : The Lombard Press Association, 45, Lombard Street, E.G. 

^'Our Clearing: System 

and Clearing; Houses" 


By W. HOWARTH, F.R.HistS. (Author of " History of Greenwich," &c.) 

Dedicated to Sir John Lubbock, Bart., M.P., F.R.S., D.CL., M.A., &c. 

Price 28. 6d. London: EFFINGHAM WILSON, 54, Threadneedle Street. 

"A handy and useful Book."— Tme*. 

" A very interesting description of Clearing in London, as well as the leading provincial 
towns, Paris, Berlin, and New York." — Daily Telegraph. 

" Concise descriptions of the system pursued in the Clearing Houses of London and the 
country." — Daily Chronicle. 

" States in a clear and concise manner the way in which the system works,"— <S^ James' 

"The author is a gentleman of much practical knowledge, painstaking and thorough. 
His descriptions may be relied on, and the style will be found interesting and instructive." 
— Banking World. 

"A very clear and interesting account of the Clearing System." — Liverpool Post. 

"Mr. Howarth's description of the very simple mechanism of the Clearing House is at 
once clear and interesting." ~ Fconomifit. 

" The volume contains a very graphic, albeit simple, description cf the Clearing House 
System, in which even its intricacies are made clear to the most unbusinesslike mind." — 
Bankers' Magazine. 

" The book is pleasantly written, and may be recommended to all who wish for informa- 
tion on the euhject ^'—Manche(<ter Courier. 

" It affords ample and clear information respecting not only the mode of transaction in 
Post Office Court, but gives much information respecting similar establishments elsewhere." 
— BuUionist. 

Published annually in June, 

Established 1865."] the [Price 10s. 




An account to date regarding the Banks and Kindred Companies 
and Firms which make up the London Money Market ; the British 
Provincial Banking Companies and Firms ; the Principal Colonial and 
Foreign Banks and Kindred Firms. 

An Alphabetical List of British, Colonial and Foreign Towns where 
the foregoing Banks have Offices, with the London Agents of each. 

An Alphabetical List of Partners in the Banking and Kindred Firms 
of the United Kingdom. 

An Alphabetical List of Telegraphic Addresses, &c., &c., &c. 


Compiler and Editor of '* The Stock Exchange Year-Book " ; " The 
Stock Exchange Gazette " ; " The Directory of Directors," &c. 



A Weekly Newspaper. Established 1898. 

Banking Notes, Insurance Notes. Notes by "Crabstick." Articles 
on British Private and Joint-Stock Banks, Foreign and Colonial Banks, 
Insurance Companies, Railways, Industrial and other enterprises. Critical 
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Price 2d. Post free : 1 year, 8s. 8d. ; 3 months, 4s. 4d.; 
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Editorial & Publishing: Offices: 45, LOMBARD ST., 





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Bank's progress." — Literature. 

'* A pleasantly written sketch. . . . Well illustrated."— 5<a<trt. 

" The book will afford much pleasure as a bit of highly interesting 
reading. " — Scotsman . 

" "We cannot speak too highly of this book." — Finance. 

*' Crowded with reliable information on a subject which to many 
minds is nothing short of fascinating— the control of vast monetary 
wealth."— Literary \\ orld. 

** Mr. Turner's careful compilation is an epitome of English finance 
for two centuries."— J5oo/;7;ian. 

Price 7s. 6d, 










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